Traders delighted that the main road through Bradford on Avon has reopened are urging customers to return to the town.
Market Street’s month-long closure, to allow drainage works to take place in preparation for Historic Core Zone, came to an end last Saturday, but businesses fear people may have picked up new shopping habits.
President of Bradford on Avon Chamber of Commerce Caroline Philpott runs Tillions in The Shambles. She said: “Since the road has reopened business has picked up.
“We have got to get people back in the town. Bradford has got a town centre through individual investment. These individuals have to be supported otherwise they are not going to hang around.”
However, the closure was the final straw for The Olive Tree in Market Street, which has now shut.
Owner Georgina Knight cited a series of problems, beginning with tree surgery works in Mason’s Lane for 11 days in November, the floods on Christmas Eve, Church Street closed for gas works and the night closure of Market Street in February, as well as a electrical fire in the shop on December 23.
She said the closure was “due to the footfall figures’ continued reduction in the town, combined with factors beyond individual control”.
Mike Doughty, of Tudor Cards in The Shambles, echoed calls for shoppers to return. He said: “People found a different place to shop because it was a waste of time going through Bradford on Avon. Now we have to re-educate them to come back to Bradford.”
Jan Dando, owner of Andrew Dando Antiques in Market Street, said: “The business died when the road was closed. Now the road has reopened and we are seeing business pick up.”
Jacqui Mehrez, who runs Neston Flowers in Church Street, said: “Everything was covered in dust and very noisy. Footfall was very much down. People are gradually coming back in the town but it will take a while.”