CHARLIE and Patricia Clarke, owners of the Westdale Nurseries in Bradford on Avon, have only seen a handful of customers all week.

Their trade has all but dried up after Wiltshire Council closed the B3107 Holt Road for emergency repairs to a stone retaining wall.

Charlie and Patricia run a family-owned and RHS award-winning plant nursery specialising in the cultivation of bougainvilleas, which has been in the family for more than 60 years.

They and other traders on the Westdale Nurseries park, fear the council’s 15-week road closure could drive some of them out of business.

Mr Clarke, 69, said: “We’ve just been sat outside doing nothing because no-one is coming down here, apart from the people who live here.

“We’ve had just two customers. Normally, we’d be preparing plants for flower shows or for Christmas.

“They shut the road once before and it nearly finished us.

“We’ve got no flower shows to fall back on because they’ve all been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are no signs to say that businesses are still open. It just does not cut it.

“We still have bills to pay for electricity, rates and insurance and there’s nothing coming in.”

His son, William, 27, at The Car Guy next door, said: “The last time they shut the road, it damaged businesses here and quite a few had to close.”

David Traynor, 58, was looking after plants for Michelle Carr, the owner of next door Palms & Exotics, who had gone on a business trip to Spain.

He said: “It has gone quieter than we expected. The problem is that we are a specialist business.

“We have got people coming from all over the country. If they come and see the road is closed, they will just turn around and go away.

“We have asked the council for signs outside but we haven’t had a response yet.”

Wiltshire Council has installed a sign saying 'businesses open as usual' at the Forewoods Common junction.

Wiltshire Council has ordered the temporary road closure to enable repairs to a stone retaining wall in danger of collapse.

The closure affects the stretch between the B3109 Springfield junction to Brooklands and businesses on the Westdale Nurseries park, whose customers will face a long diversion from September 6 until December 17.

Emily Haynes, 29, Charlie and Patricia’s daughter, said: “It’s very frustrating for my parents as they weren’t informed that this work was taking place.

“They have already been affected by Covid enough, as well as the other nine businesses up there that will also be affected more by this.”

“Also, like last time they shut Holt Road, there more than likely won’t be any signs to say that the businesses are still open.

“My parents have had their business there for over 60 years, ran by my grandparents originally, and have lived in Bradford on Avon all their lives.”

Traffic will be diverted via Forewoods Common via the B3109 road to the Leigh Park junction with the B3105.