Pub owners call for better communications over A66 roadworks

Bollards on the A66 outside the Fox Hall Inn.

A couple running a pub on the A66 say they are losing thousands of pounds due the roadworks on the A66.

Jack Bowles and Ellie Richmond, from the Fox Hall Inn, near Ravensworth, have urged road chiefs to improve their communications with local businesses over the work.

The trans-Pennine route was due to be closed for the last three weekends and this weekend due to the improvements.

However, the work was cancelled last weekend due to Storm Ciara and will not take place this weekend due to Storm Dennis.

Jack said they were informed in December that the work would be taking place, but it was not until three weeks before it was due to start that they were told which weekends the road would shut.

“We’re a new business and it’s hard enough without the weekend trade, which is where around half of our business comes from.

“We had a large booking but they cancelled because there was not enough information about when the closures would be.

The couple, who have contacted Rishi Sunak MP about their concerns, have stressed that they remain open for business throughout the work.

They said they had contacted Richmondshire District Council to see if there was any financial help available, but were told there wasn’t.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “The first two weekend closure of the A66 were carried out as planned and we have already received positive feedback from residents about the new road surface.

“Our main priority must be the safety of our roadworkers and drivers travelling along the A66. Unfortunately due to the severe weather brought by storm Ciara, last weekend’s closure had to be cancelled.

“Before the scheme started we visited business affected by the closures to advise of our planned work. Signs advising ‘business open as usual’ are in place along the route and as well as the long distance diversion a local diversion in place so that drivers can continue to access services.”

Rishi Sunak said he recognised that the situation was frustrating for the new business owners.

He had made representations to Highways England on behalf of the business and been assured by agency officials that they had been in touch with all affected enterprises on the route to minimise the impact of the works, including re-scheduling of the work programme to be more accommodating to the needs of individual businesses.