Christmas tree farmer fears road closures around Testo's roundabout will hit him in the pocket
A Christmas tree farmer is not feeling very festive as he fears major roadworks throughout December are set to leave him out of pocket.
Colin Haynes, who runs Scotts House Farm in Newcastle Road, West Boldon, sells 1,500 Christmas trees each festive season.
But the farmer says his business is going to take a hit this year, as roadworks on the A184 have been scheduled for his busiest period.
Major road improvements are underway at Testo’s roundabout, with motorists suffering months of road closures.
The closures over the next two weekends from 8pm on Friday, November 29 until 6am on Monday, December 2 and from Friday, December 6 until Monday, December 9, mean anyone attempting to access Scotts House Farm and the A184 will have to travel via Whitemare Pool roundabout.
Colin, 52, who has sold Christmas trees on the farm for almost 30 years, says he is set to lose thousands this festive season.
“This weekend and next are our biggest, but I don’t see how we’re going to get any business. Everyone is going to go elsewhere,” said the dad-of-two.
“I normally cut 500 trees down, but I have only done about 200 this year. It’s a big chunk of our livelihood.”
Colin says Highways England didn’t inform him of the planned closures.
He added: “If they had come and seen us six months ago they would have known what we do.
“I can’t sell Christmas trees in January.”
A spokesperson for Highways England said: "In order to prepare the new connecting roads between Downhill Lane and Testo’s for use by traffic, we have to close the A19 Northbound between Hylton and Boldon and the A184 in both directions from Whitemare Pool and Testo’s roundabout.
“We intended to have limited access from Whitemare Pool entry slip road for residents only, but after feedback from businesses along this route we have amended the road closures and it now will be open to all drivers. The entry slip road will be open on the A184 eastbound maintaining access to all businesses on this route. There will also be signs advising all businesses on the A184 are open as usual. Clearly signed diversion routes will also be in place.”