Banbury’s North Bar business’s woes continue

White Horse pub on North Bar, Banbury is just one of the businesses effected by the car park closure
White Horse pub on North Bar, Banbury is just one of the businesses effected by the car park closure

After a forced week of road and car park closure due to the rupture of a major water pipe and the subsequent repair, businesses on North Bar are once again experiencing a drop in trade due to work on the streets east car park.

On Monday August 15, a Thames Water pipe lying under the road directly between the two car parks on North Bar burst resulting in the road and car parks from Banbury Cross to the Warwick Road junction by the Three Pigeons pub to be closed. The repair took just over a week to complete during which time the Little Amsterdam Cafe reported a drop in trade of up to 80 per cent while the White Horse pub saw customer volume drop by a quarter.

The latest disruption is due to scheduled resurfacing work on the North Bar east car park which businesses along the road rely upon for customer parking and drop-in trade.

Ilja Andrews, owner of Little Amsterdam, said: “Instead of leaving it the council do it now. Both myself, Cromwell Lodge and the White Horse are dead.

“Cherwell haven’t been around to let me know that they were closing the car park.

“We rely on passing trade. It’s amazing how many of my customers rely on that car park to get here. A lot are elderly or are family’s with children.”

Landlady of the White Horse, Elaine Thompson has similar concerns about the handling and timing of the car park repairs and has written to the council outlining a number of issues created by the resurfacing work.

Among those are the lack of communication from the council warning of the closure, the inability of both refuse lorry’s and delivery drivers to access businesses resulting in a build up of waste and the noise and smell which is keeping people away.

Cherwell District Council said in a statement:” Cherwell District Council announced earlier this year that it would be undertaking routine maintenance of all its car parks across the district, starting with Banbury.

“In deciding the works programme, consideration has been given to accommodating major events which are taking place across the town, such as Canal Day, the Remembrance Day Parade and Michaelmas Fair.

“This is to minimise disruption to visitors and ensure businesses can benefit from the additional footfall.

“While it is unfortunate that the works in North Bar East are taking place so soon after we were forced to close the same car parks to enable Thames Water to conduct unplanned repairs, the dates of works had been agreed in advance of this disruption.

“While we did advertise the closure on our website and social media channels, we take on board the feedback about lack of direct communication with businesses and will review this going forward.”

While the repairs are ongoing the businesses along North Bar, once again, want to inform the town that they are very much open as usual and parking is still available in the west side car park.

Mrs Andrews said: “This is no fault of my own, this is not my doing.”