Driffield News

Roadworks killing trade at one of Driffield’s longest-running businesses

The owner of one of Driffield’s longest-running businesses has told the Wolds Weekly how passing trade has all but stopped after temporary traffic lights and parking restrictions were placed outside her shop as part of work to install a new water pipe along Wansford Road.

With spring just around the corner, February and March is normally the start of one of the busiest times of the year for F Waites & Sons, which has been run as a family firm on Harper Street since 1915.

But the flood of customers, the majority of whom park on the roadside close to the shop, has been reduced to a trickle since 30th January when United Living Group Limited, on behalf of Yorkshire Water, started the installation.

In a letter sent to nearby residents and businesses, Yorkshire Water stated that the work would be conducted over a four-week period, with the new pipe to be installed along Wansford Road from the junction with New Walk to the junction with Bridlington Road.

For the last fortnight, this has meant temporary traffic lights and no parking on Harper Street, restrictions that Christine Agius, owner of F Waites & Sons, says has severely hampered her business.

Although F Waites does have a car park at the rear of the building, Christine said that only the shop’s regulars are aware of this and signs directing customers to the car park have yet to have the desired effect – with some people even enquiring whether the shop was closed.

To make matters worse, whilst she was speaking to one of the engineers working on the project, which has also seen temporary traffic lights placed at various places on Wansford Road, Christine was told that the work is likely to overrun.

And all this comes after gas works also caused problems and delays on Harper Street.

“We received a letter about the work, along with everybody else who lives in the area,” she said.

“We didn’t get anything in addition to that. We have only just got over work taking place along the street by the gas board in January, which lasted just over a week.

“Two weeks later, this started. On the letter, we were told the work would be finished within a month from 30th January.

“However, I was told last week that the work is likely to spill over by at least another week.

“Trade has been dead since the work started, the temporary traffic lights were put up and the parking cones were set out.

“Even the week before the traffic lights went up, cars from Wansford Road were parking on Harper Street, which meant there were no spaces for our customers.

“Our regular customers know about the car park and they have been coming around the back.

“We’ve put a sign outside the shop and another close to the car park entrance on Wansford Road.

“But generally, in terms of passing trade, the number of customers has dwindled off.

“People have even said that they thought we were closed. The signs we’ve put up say we are open and we have tried to keep the door open, although that’s not always possible at this time of the year when the weather can be cold.”

This is not the first time F Waites’ has taken a hit as a result of engineering work in the Harper Street area.
Remarkably, around five or six years ago, the shop did not sell a single firework when the road was closed during late October and early November.

Christine said that if trade does not increase, and if the work extends beyond 28th February, she will be investigating a potential compensation claim.

“Figures-wise, I’m not sure how much money we will have lost, but it will be a very significant amount,” she said.

“This is the start of our compost season, and anyone who comes along to buy it needs their car nearby to put in into their boot, as is the case with lots of the items we sell.

“It’s not what we need in the current financial climate. There have been times when no one has been working, which makes it even more frustrating.

“When the section from the junction of New Walk to Harper Street was Tarmacked, we thought that the traffic lights would maybe be taken away.

“The last time this happened was around five or six years ago. Again, the road was closed completely and we didn’t sell a single firework and after that, we haven’t sold them since.

“I would hate to say what position we could be in if this continues any longer than it has to.

“We just hope that the advertising we have done in the press, the signs for the car park and the fact that we deliver compost, which we are really pushing, means we will see customers come back to us.

“I am looking into contacting Yorkshire Water to see if I can claim some form of compensation, especially if the work overruns.”

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