After being closed for a week North Bar in Banbury has reopened but businesses along the road are reeling after the closure caused a decline in trade.
The road was closed when a Thames Water main line ruptured, leading to the closure of the road between Horsefair by Banbury Cross and the junction with Southam Road and Castle Street near the Three Pigeons pub.
Thames Water has come under fire from North Bar business owners over their handling of this issue, in particular the perceived lack of communication during the repair.
At the time, Tjobbe Andrews of Little Amsterdam said: “We haven’t heard from Thames Water directly and are having to approach the workers themselves. They’ve been really helpful but Thames Water has not. The latest is that the workers are saying the road could be closed for two, maybe even three weeks.”
Thames Water responded saying: “We’re sorry for the disruption the road closure is causing. We’re working as hard as we can, which will include this weekend, to get our repairs done as quickly as possible.
“We’ve visited businesses to keep them updated on our progress.”
Ken Thompson, proprietor of the White Horse pub, said: “Friday, I rang them and the automated system said there was no disruption, I gave the postcode and said I’m looking at it out of my office.
“My issue really is that whenever you rang them, their operator said there was nothing there and couldn’t give you any information at all.”
A Thames Water spokesman said: “The website didn’t have any info on Friday because at that point the burst had been repaired and it was just the resurfacing work to be done, so the customer agent was correct in saying there were no problems with leaks/bursts at that time.”
In addition, the drastic reduction in people parking in the area has led to a loss of revenue. Little Amsterdam reported takings down by as much as 80 per cent and the White Horse has seen a drop of 25 per cent.
The pipe in question was 12 inches in diameter and required the removal and replacement of a four metre section. The road had to be completely shut while ground crews, using ground penetrating radar, checked for ‘voids’ - parts of the underlying ground that could have been blasted away from the enormous pressure of the water escaping from the leak.
In all a total of 530 square metres of road, pavement and car park had to be re-surfaced.
Thames Water added: “If any business owners feel they’re out of pocket because of the closure, they can contact us for a claims form which they’ll need to complete and send back to us along with accounts showing any losses.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience our emergency work caused. We worked as hard as we could to get the job finished but safety had to be our first priority and we weren’t prepared to compromise this by not doing things properly just to get the road open.”