A major anti-flooding scheme is making waves among worried traders concerned about losing business because of the road closure involved.
Several shopkeepers in Finchale Road, Hebburn, are calling for more temporary road signs after one end of the busy street was blocked off.
The closure was necessary because of the £4.2m scheme, aimed at protecting more than 20 homes in the area from flooding.
Kerry McLaughlin, owner of the Finchale Road Barber Shop, said: “All the shops along Finchale Road have seen trade go down since the road was closed off a week or so ago.
“We have a post office, a greengrocer’s, a sandwich shop, a fish shop and other traders, and they’re all feeling the effect of the closure.
“The number of customers I have seen coming through the door has been reduced by more than half since one end of Finchale Road was closed, near the Elmfield Club.
“There is a shuttle bus bringing people into the estate, but we are still not seeing the number of pensioners and other customers we normally see.
“Drivers can still get into the estate from the Monkton Lane end, but I’m not sure everyone knows this, and I think we need more road signs to direct motorists and pedestrians.
“I have been onto Northumbrian Water and asked if we can get compensation for lost business.”
Seymour Civic Engineering Contractors is carrying out the anti-flooding scheme on behalf of Northumbrian Water, creating a huge storage tank, capable of holding 8,000 cubic metres of water, on land between Campbell Park Road and Mountbatten Avenue.
The scheme will alleviate problems with excess water repeatedly flooding homes in Thirlmere Court, leading to tenants having to be temporarily rehoused.
But before the scheme was even launched, Coun John McCabe, of the Hebburn South ward, said: “I have concerns that not enough people in the area realise this will cause some disruption, including local road closures.”
A spokesman for Northumbrian Water said: “This is essential work, to help reduce the risk of flooding in the area.
“At the moment, we have business-as-usual signs at the top and bottom of Finchale Road, but we may look at providing extra signs in Campbell Park Road.
“We’re giving advice to businesses who have been in touch with us, and if they would like to make a claim for compensation. they can contact us and they will go through the normal claims procedure.”
Anyone with concerns about the work can call Northumbrian Water on 0345 717 1100.
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