A NEW cycle lane, currently under construction in Stalybridge, has driven away shoppers claims a trader.
Paul Stevens, who has run Paul’s Tool Emporium for 28 years, said the partial closure of Rassbottom Street has affected his business.
And with the work, funded by the Cycle City Ambition Grant, envisaged to take eight weeks to complete, Paul is expecting further misery.
“It has already had a big impact on trade as customers cannot turn down off Stamford Street,” he explained.
Paul, who added business was also hit last August when 600 metres of Stamford Street was shut for a major electrical cable replacement, also questioned the wisdom of making a cycle lane on Rassbottom Street.
“I kept a close watch on the road on one particular day and only two bikes passed my shop,” he explained.
Paul was also unhappy about the lack of prior notice to warn of the disruption.
He said: “Usually road closure notices are posted on lamp-posts to warn the public what is happening.
“I received a letter (from Lee Holland, head of design and delivery at Tameside Council’s operations and neighbourhoods) on the Friday to say work was beginning on Monday, a massive warning!
“It said the road would be one-way for eight weeks while the cycle lane was being.
“I have spoken to the lads doing the work and they have known about it for ages so why weren’t we told until so late.”
Trader Lee Stafford, from the Stalybridge Town political party, said: “This is exactly the sort of thing that ought to be discussed at the neighbourhood forum as it affects the lives of people living in the town.
“It is mind boggling that something as major as this can be done with so little notification. Usually warnings are posted weeks before.”
Lee added he had spoken to other shopkeepers who have also reported a sharp drop in business since the road closure which has also meant buses from Ashton have had to be re-routed.
The work will involve the construction of a new pedestrian and cycle friendly refuges at the junction (with Stamford Street) together with a shared footway/cycleway on Rassbottom Street.
It added various traffic management schemes will be in place during the construction period.
A Tameside Council spokesman said: “The work to install a cycle lane on Rassbottom Street is being carried out under the externally-funded Cycle City Ambition Grant. This exists to create infrastructure that makes cycling a convenient, attractive and safe travel choice.
“Encouraging people to use bikes gets them out of their cars. This has the benefit of cutting traffic congestion, reducing pollution, and improving health.
“The new path will be a shared footway/cycleway. It’s not in the road and will not affect parking.
“A signed diversion is in place during the road closure and the work, which includes the reconstruction of the central island on Stamford Street to make the junction safer, should be completed by the start of March.
“Letters were hand-delivered to properties in the immediate vicinity of Rassbottom Street in accordance with guidelines.”
• Multi-way signals are in place on Rassbottom Street at the junction of Stamford Street from 9.30am to 3.30pm until Friday, March 29.