Desperate plea from trader to reopen landslip hit road
BUSINESSES in Drybrook are desperately appealing for a key road to the village to be reopened.
Hawthorns Road has been shut both ways since last November after a landslip caused by the torrential winter downpours.
So desperate are some for access to be restored, a petition has been launched urging Gloucestershire Highways officials to do all they can to bring the work forward.
Trevor Griffiths owns Overbrook Garage in the road and estimates his trade is down about 20 per cent because on the ongoing closure.
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“Take away all the passing business and it really hits us,” he said. “We had a mechanic leave not long ago and we haven’t replaced him.
“People living on the Ross side of the road will just find another garage and once they’ve gone, they’re not coming back. It’s ridiculous how long it’s been shut, we’re told it’s because a gas main runs along there but nothing seems to be getting done.
“We were told it was going to be fixed in June but no-one came, then September and now we’re hearing it won’t be done until next year.”
He said others are suffering too.
“There’s a nurse who works at the doctor’s surgery who’s making four round trips a day to Lea because she has to go home and feed her dog,” he said. “There are signs up which say ‘businesses open as usual’ but open for who?”
However, Highways bosses have admitted the road is likely to be shut well into 2014 as they search for a solution to the complicated repair job.
Local highways manager Brian Watkins said: “We are trying to find a solution as quickly as possible and appreciate the difficulties this closure is having on the local community, but it is a big job.
“The landslip has affected a 100ft high embankment and there is a high pressure gas main that serves 14,000 homes in the Forest of Dean located only half a metre from the edge. Residents’ safety is our biggest priority and we have to make sure we find the right solution. Our best estimate is to be able to open the road early in the new year, but we will keep local people updated on progress.”