Frustration for Heath and Reach businesses as trade is affected by road closure

Bird's Hill roadworks
Bird's Hill roadworks

Frustrated businesses have hit out at Central Beds Council for failing to warn them about a road closure which affected their trade.

The businesses say the resurfacing of Bird’s Hill in Heath and Reach severely affected access to the area – but none of them were given notice of the disruption.

Bird’s Hill – the main road from the village into Leighton Buzzard – was closed from Monday, November 6, for five days, while Central Beds Council carried out essential road resurfacing work.

Jackie from Leighton K9 Grooming said: “Quite a few people were unhappy with the road closure because of the amount of time it was closed and the lack of notice beforehand.

“I think what was more annoying for me is that we weren’t told that it would be closed. I had to cancel quite a few appointments last week as the elderly clients could not get to me.

“There was a small sign near the road but people can’t read that if they are driving, and I wasn’t told about the closure.

“I feel businesses and residents should have been sent a letter informing us about the road closure.”

The Heath Inn on Woburn Road was also affected.

Trevor Cook, who works at the bar, he said: “It was ridiculous, customers couldn’t get into town from here, buses were being redirected, it was difficult to get taxis because the road was closed.

“We were not given any notice, normally when they do work on the roads they send a letter to residents and businesses that will be affected by it, but we didn’t get anything.

“I understand that the road needs to be repaired but it was the lack of notice of the road closure that was frustrating.”

A Heath and Reach resident added: “I think it was badly organised there was only the small sign about the closure, the council should have done more to let people know. The workmen tried to help people where they could.”

The landlady, of The Dukes, Sarah Smith, reported a quiet week during the road closure, she said: “It meant they were not letting my staff in, they had to park and then walk down, and I wonder how many customers tried to come here and weren’t allowed down the road so drove somewhere else.

“We were quieter than normal but I’m not sure how much business which actually lost because of the closure.

“I know they closed quite a bit of the road and I bet a lot of people didn’t come in from Leighton Buzzard because of that.

“We were not notified about the road closure and the noise was ridiculous, we had customers eating their lunch and the noise was so loud. They have resurfaced part of the road, but the bit that I think was worse and actually needed doing, they haven’t touched yet!”

Other residents reported that their houses had been “shaking” due to the work going on, and it is claimed workmen had received verbal abuse from frustrated people.

A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said: “We would like to apologise for any disruption to local residents whilst we undertook works in Heath and Reach.

“Advance warning signs were placed on the roads in the days leading up to the closure. We can confirm that the works are now finished.”