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Businesses urge people for support after Bideford sinkhole closes road

PUBLISHED: 14:19 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 11 January 2018

Volunteers at The Storehouse in Grenville Street, Bideford, with the sinkhole.

Volunteers at The Storehouse in Grenville Street, Bideford, with the sinkhole.

Archant

Business owners in Grenville Street and Bideford Pannier Market said trade has been ‘diabolical’ since council closed road due to a sinkhole appearing two weeks ago.

Businesses in Bideford have been left frustrated after a sinkhole appeared in the road two weeks ago and has still not been fixed.

The hole, which is about two-feet deep and two-feet wide, first appeared in the centre of Grenville Street on December 22.

It was reported to the police, and then Devon County Council, who shut the road to traffic and fenced off the hole.

But no further action has yet been taken and now shop owners in Grenville Street and the Pannier Market say the road closure is affecting business.

Joe Buckingham, who runs The Storehouse charity shop in Grenville Street, was the first person to report the hole.

He said: “It has really affected trade, the road is totally dead.

The sinkhole in Grenville Street, Bideford. The sinkhole in Grenville Street, Bideford.

“People are walking up the High Street, seeing the road closed sign, and turning around.

“We want people to know the road is still open to pedestrians and we’re all still very much open for business.

“They had a sinkhole in Japan which was 50-feet wide, spread across four lanes of traffic, and filled with water and they managed to fix that in seven days.

“So why haven’t they fixed this little one yet?”

Photographer Brian Sidwell has a stall in Bideford Pannier Market, and said trade during the last couple of weeks was ‘dire’.

“It’s been diabolical; it has really had an effect with vehicles not able to use the road,” he said.

The sinkhole in Grenville Street, Bideford. The sinkhole in Grenville Street, Bideford.

“We rely on passing trade in the market, but with the road closed people aren’t coming up here; it’s been dead.

“The Pannier Market is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-3pm, and we hope people will come up and support us.

“Between Grenville Street, Market Street and the Pannier Market, we have something like 59 individual businesses which is pretty impressive.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for Highways, said: “We are working closely with the utility companies to determine the underlying cause of the hole and the best course of action.

“Until then the road will remain closed.

“I apologise for any inconvenience and thank the public for their ongoing cooperation.”

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