A BUSINESSMAN says he is in danger of being forced out of Tavistock because a road outside his garage has been closed for ten weeks after a rock fall.

Rocky Hill, a narrow twisting steep road in the town centre has been closed since large stones became dislodged and fell onto the road from a very high garden retaining wall, possibly linked to heavy rain.

After appeals from two businesses on the road – among them Doug Bennett of Tavistock Garden Machinery – Devon Highways, the county council’s highways department, has reopened it for pedestrians but it remains closed to vehicles.

This has made life difficult for Doug’s customers (many with mobility problems) to deliver and pick up their garden mowers, both push and ride-on machines, after being repair or service by Doug. So, some are choosing to take their custom elsewhere, where there is easy parking outside premises.

Doug is also losing income because he can’t get spare parts delivered as many delivery drivers see the road closed sign and do not then walk up the hill to his premises with the parts. He therefore, has his workshop filling up with broken machines which are awaiting spare parts, but which he cannot mend.

Doug said: “I have many really loyal customers whose patience is being sorely tested because I have their mowers sitting in my workshop. The grass is growing fast and they want their mowers back. Many are elderly or disabled and want their ride-on machines, but can’t push their machines up and down this hill. I do collect and deliver for a few.

“I’ve been in Tavistock for 30 years and nothing has been as bad as this. I feel so helpless, I’m in the hands of the county highways who have taken a very hard line with this closure. It doesn’t help when the traffic wardens are over-officious and send parking tickets to their bosses when it’s obvious they have no choice but to park somewhere they shouldn’t. If it goes much longer I’ll have to close down or move.”

Devon County Council has been approached for a comment.