Businesses hit out over bridge work

Sally Massam of Sweet Treats Cake Beautique on Horncastle Road, Boston, highlighting impact of footbridge closure.
Sally Massam of Sweet Treats Cake Beautique on Horncastle Road, Boston, highlighting impact of footbridge closure.

Businesses have hit out over the closure of a busy Boston footbridge, which is being repaired by the Environment Agency.

Firms close to the Hospital Lane footbridge say they have been badly affected since it shut for work last Monday – with one newly-opened business saying it would have delayed opening if it had known and a pub resorting to offering to fetch customers in a car to keep trade.

Sally Massam opened Sweet Treats Cake Boutique in Horncastle Road on July 13 and only found out the bridge – and surrounding car park bays – would shut when she received a letter nine days later, a week’s notice.

She said: “If I had known I probably would have delayed opening because I am losing money every day.

“From about 11am onwards until 4 I had had a steady trickle and it has been brilliant but (on Friday) one customer drinking one coffee isn’t good.”

She was particularly annoyed with the fact that all parking spaces have been blocked, making it tricky for customers collecting big cakes as well as passing trade.

Terri Fisher, who runs the nearby Ropers Arms with her husband Brian, said she had lost £300 in the first week – with around three-quarters of her customers living the other side of the Maud Foster Drain, many of whom may be unable to make the extra half a mile minimum round trip.

She said: “We have said to anybody that if they can’t get down to us then ring up and we will pick you up and be a taxi service.”

The bridge – which links Horncastle Road and Willoughby Road – will be repainted to increase its lifespan and stop it having to be closed on health and safety grounds.

An Environment Agency spokesman said the work should end by August 16 – but that date cannot be guaranteed and it could take up to a month.

They said the job was delayed until the school holidays so it did not affect children and said a letter drop was carried out on July 23 which followed advertising earlier ‘some weeks ago’.

Businesses and residents have questioned why a temporary crossing could not have been installed while the work was under way.

An EA spokesman said: “There are practical difficulties to making a temporary crossing that don’t allow for one during the period of the closure.

“Immediately adjacent the watercourse on both sides are live highways, where there are no footpaths. Therefore providing safe access and egress from such a crossing would be difficult and may put pedestrians in direct conflict with traffic.”