Roadworks killing business, say Gorey traders

Gorey Village road closure Monika De Gruchy (Entwhistle's Fish and Chips), Delila Gomes (Smile Laundry Ltd) and Joanne Le Couilliard (Gorey Fruit Shop) alongside the diversion signs Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37750177)

TRADERS in Gorey say roadworks are killing their businesses with takings way down and the village deserted.

Describing the past few weeks as a “nightmare”, they want people to know that they are open and it’s business as usual.

Contractors working for Jersey Electricity are digging up Mont de Gouray to carry out essential work, something the traders say they understand.

When contacted by the JEP, the company said it would do all it could to explain the importance of the work and liaise with businesses to minimise disruption.

The traders argue that poor signage and repeated reports on the radio that the road through the village is closed has meant people are avoiding the area.

Dalila Gomes, who has run the Smile laundry for 20 years, said that they needed to move the signs to the bottom of the hill past Entwhistles fish-and-chip shop, and not have them at the fork outside Morrisons because they were stopping people turning right.

Jon de Gruchy, who owns Entwhistles, said people had simply given up coming through that part of the village, which had left his takings about 20% down.

“It’s been five weeks already and now they have said that the work will continue even longer, until the end of April,” he complained.

“We said from the start that there would be issues. Everyone has noticed a difference. We don’t get the through traffic anymore.

“People are just not coming into the village and we are losing trade. We have lost the butchers and I understand that others are thinking of packing up. It’s been an absolute nightmare.”

He said no one seemed interested in the impact it was having despite their complaints.

Vanessa Carswell, who has run Gorey Fruit Shop with her sister Jo for 33 years, said: “They keep saying on the radio that the road in Gorey Village is closed and it never has been. It’s just the Mont de Gouray. You can come in and go along New Road, you just can’t go up the hill.”

She added: “It’s affected business very, very badly. We’ve lost a lot. It’s affected all of us. We’ve all been saying how quiet the village is. It’s been going on for so long and we just need people to know we are open and it’s business as usual.”

Ms Gomes said that she had never known it so bad and had been forced to send an employee home at lunchtime as there was nothing to do.

“People just think Gorey Village is closed,” she added. “Normally at this time of the year I am so busy. It’s affected me really badly. Business is dead. My rails are empty.”

JE chief operating officer Mark Preece said: “The essential work at Gorey involves refurbishing a substation, an upgrade which takes places on average every 50 years. We have been liaising with business owners to explain the nature of our improvements and listen to their concerns, which we take seriously.

“Once completed, the local area will have a substantially improved, future-proofed energy supply. We recognise that the works are continuing for longer than we first anticipated, but the safety of our employees and the public is our primary concern whilst we complete this upgrade to secure the long-term energy needs for Gorey.

“We would like to reassure Islanders that vehicle access into Gorey Village is unaffected, and there is a clearly signposted diversion to exit the village.”

A statement from the Infrastructure and Environment Department said: “Jersey Electricity have closed the road for urgent maintenance. We continue to monitor JEC’s progress to ensure that the works are complete as soon as possible.”

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