A COUPLE who have built up a thriving village stores report that they are losing more than £500 every day at the moment due to a sharp drop in passing trade with the closure of the main road through the village.

June Balcombe, who runs the shop with her husband John, says a diversion directing traffic to bypass the village for seven weeks to allow is killing trade.

A short section of road at the western end of the village is closed for work to contact to a development under construction to the mains sewage system.

The work by South West Water started on April 17 and is due to continue until June 2.

June says that it is only a small section of the road shut at the end of the village, but the diversions mean that traffic coming from the east side of the village is being diverted north.

‘It is disrupting passing trade,’ she said. ‘We have already roadworks since September until March, when Western Power were laying new electricity cables up to the Arundell Arms for the electric vehicles (EV) there. We had a month where it was right outside the shop and we have a lot of elderly people. When you have a digger and a trench outside the shop it does discourage people from coming in.

‘Now we have got a road shut at the top of the road where the new sewage pipes to the new housing will go.

‘It means that people from Liftondown can’t get through too and we aren’t getting any through traffic.

‘This is the old A30 and we get lots of van drivers wanting to stop off here and get their lunches. We are down between 50 and 100 customers a day – normally we would have about 350 customers in total.

‘Because we have been building the business up for three years, it is soul destroying to see it go backwards. People in the village do appreciate what we are trying to do and they are trying to support us but it is the passing trade is down by 40 per cent.’

She and her husband had been told they could claim compensation, but that it would have been better to have been able to claim in advance.

‘We have still got to pay all our staff and our overheads now, when our revenue goes down. We are not like businesses that have loads of money behind them. We did have a letter to tell us about the work but not for how long it was, just that it was a road closure.

‘That doesn’t help you, and staff are worried because if our revenue goes down too much we are going to have to let some staff go and we employ ten people.

‘We don’t want to do that because it is people’s livelihoods as well, so we are trying to make sure we don’t have to cut anyone’s hours.’

South West Water confirmed that they are undertaking work to lay pipes for the Wainhomes housing development currently being built on the western end of the village.

A South West Water spokesperson said: 'The sewer pipes are being laid and are only serving one development — Wainhomes. Wainhomes have requisitioned SWW to provide them with a public sewer to serve their development.'

They added that anyone who felt they had suffered losses as a result of the work could seek compensation at https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/commercial-services/affected-by-streetworks/