Work at Pontefract Town End hitting firms in the pocket

Paul Meakin, owner of Bentley's garden centre in Pontefract says work at Town End lights are badly affecting trade as queuing traffic accross his new entrance is preventing people from getting in.
Paul Meakin, owner of Bentley's garden centre in Pontefract says work at Town End lights are badly affecting trade as queuing traffic accross his new entrance is preventing people from getting in.
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Business owner Paul Meakin claims work at Pontefract’s Town End junction could lead to a ‘disastrous’ fall in takings at his garden centre.

Mr Meakin, who owns Bentley’s Garden Centre on Wakefield Road, says his weekly takings fell from £4,500 before work started to £300 the week after it got under way.

Work on the £600,000 Town End project, which will see the current traffic lights system removed and replaced with two roundabouts, started earlier this month.

Mr Meakin, who has run the garden centre for two years, said: “As part of the works we have had to change our entrance to the site while they create a filter lane from Wakefield Road onto Jubilee Way.

“The original entrance was hatched so people wouldn’t queue across it while waiting to go through the lights.

“The council has said it will come and mark out some hatchings across the new entrance but the whole scheme is just ridiculous.

“Somebody should have considered the effect it would have on businesses long before the works started and helped us to mitigate that.

“But nobody came to see us before it all started and the effect on trade has been unbelievable.”

Mr Meakin said the work had also hit trade at nearby Ponte Hand Car Wash and CS Autos car repairs garage.

He said: “The whole scheme just stinks of bad management.

“It’s just as if nobody seemed to care about the businesses near the junction.

“This little bit of Wakefield Road is starting to change. There is my garden centre, a hairdressers, a pet shop, the garage and the hand car wash which are all starting to employ people but the Town End work could have a disastrous effect.”

The Town End scheme will see the notorious junction replaced with one small and one larger roundabout.

It is expected to take until July to complete.

Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for transportation and highways, said: “We have instructed the contractor to make contact with all businesses in the Town End area as soon as possible.

“We have reiterated that we want the contractor to take all reasonable measures to support the local businesses during the project so that Town End can have a clear ‘business as usual’ message for customers.

“I am disappointed that this had not taken place earlier but am assured that it is now under way.”