Shops hope they can still bridge gap during work

Jonathan Cartwright, from J-Seas Finest Fish and Chips, on Harpers Lane
Jonathan Cartwright, from J-Seas Finest Fish and Chips, on Harpers Lane

Support your local shops! That is the message from businesses on Harpers Lane, Chorley, who fear the closure of a railway bridge will have a massive impact on their trade.

The bridge was due to close today for more than five months while work is carried out for the electrification of the railway.

There is still vehicular access from one direction and pedestrian access from the other.

And traders are urging people to continue visiting their businesses during the closure.

Jonathan Cartwright, owner of J-Seas Finest Fish And Chip Shop, said: “We are open as usual and all the other shops are as well.”

Jonathan fears he could lose £1,000 a week, so he has been saving money and even cancelled a family holiday.

He has pledged to keep on his staff and does not expect to pay himself a wage.

But he is concerned that other businesses could fold.

He said: “The loss of any of the businesses in the row would be a detriment to the local area.”

Despite the impact the closure could have, Jonathan cannot claim compensation.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We sympathise with local businesses that road closures could lead to a reduction of passing trade.

“But unfortunately there is no legal basis for a claim for compensation in these circumstances.”

The firm working on the bridge arrived last week and had arranged to use a car park behind the shops.

Jonathan says it has affected deliveries to the businesses and means that staff and customers cannot park there.

He said: “We had been telling customers to park at the back of the shop, but they can’t do that now because we have lost the car park.”

Jamie Carson, the council’s director of people and places, said: “We are mindful of businesses in the Harpers Lane area and have allowed the contractors to use the car park on Springs Road to enable them to carry out the work as quickly as possible.

“Once the electrification works are complete, the council will be making some landscaping improvements to the Springs Road car park including creating extra spaces.”