THE owner of a Barnstaple pet shop says the new road layout at The Square and closure of Taw Vale has killed his business and left him with no option but to close after almost a quarter of a century. David Holmes, at Barnstaple Horse and Pet Supplies, say
THE owner of a Barnstaple pet shop says the new road layout at The Square and closure of Taw Vale has killed his business and left him with no option but to close after almost a quarter of a century.David Holmes, at Barnstaple Horse and Pet Supplies, says he has lost more than £100,000 in revenue since it all changed in May last year, with the prohibition of traffic from Taw Vale and The Strand leading to less trade passing his door.Now he said he had no choice but to close at the end of August, before he loses even more money.At the same time, Barnstaple Town Councillor Simon Harvey has collected a 1,000-name petition calling on Devon County Council to review the decision it made to close Taw Vale to two-way traffic when the new Western Bypass was opened.He presented his document to county council Leader Councillor Brian Greenslade on Monday night at a meeting of the town council.But Mr Holmes said he could wait no longer and is not prepared to see more of his savings dwindle on a business he has "subsidised for the past 18 months.""When the roadworks began our trade dropped by half - Brian Greenslade said it would all come back once the work was completed, but we never saw it return," he said."Traffic just drives straight past, our trade has dived by 50 per cent. Now I have decided it's not covering costs and I will close next month."The road has been the killer and so many people have said they can't get to me because it's too difficult. It's not really, but that's how people perceive it."From three staff, it is now just himself and a part-time assistant, he added. Once the shop saw a good flow of pedestrians past its doors, but Mr Holmes said now they tended to cross the road on the other side of The Square and walk beside the river instead, completely missing his shop."I know there's a credit crunch on, but this started long before and even when Pets At Home opened up opposite, our figures didn't go up or down," he concluded, saying he had applied to the council for compensation for loss of business, but had met without success.Cllr Harvey told the Gazette a lot of people had approached him with concerns since the road was closed to two-way traffic:"The increase of traffic on Belle Meadow Road has reduced the quality of life for those living only 10 feet from the road," he said."There are very few residential properties on Taw Vale and these are set back from the road."Some businesses on The Square and on Newport Road have told me that passing traffic generates more trade."Also, people feel safer in numbers and now the area isn't as well used, some people don't like to walk down there on their own."Brian Greenslade told the Gazette when it came to compensation public authorities had to operate under regulations set down by the Government and could only compensate in certain circumstances. Regarding Mr Holmes he said:"I think the competition from the new pet supplier on Seven Brethren is one of the factors and equally a public body has to look at the wider issues - and in any event these changes did not happen without widespread public consultation. "I think The Square has become popular with people, who are using it for all sorts of purposes."The traffic just flows through and there's actually more going through then ever before. I have seen plenty of evidence from people in Litchdon and Trinity Streets plus Taw Vale that they welcome the changes."If we allowed traffic to start feeding in from the sides again we would have more congestion than ever before."Barnstaple Horse and Pet Supplies is to begin its closing down sale from this Friday.