Businesses saw takings halved because of unhelpful road repair staff and inadequate diversion signs during resurfacing works on the A272, the Express has been told.
Peter Thurman, from Newick, said: “There were no signs indicating that access was still possible to various businesses in Piltdown who are trying to make a living - a pub, a garage and a farm shop to mention just three. I am a customer of these businesses and I really feel for them.”
He explained: “To the west there were numerous road closed ahead signs but no advisory signage regarding the best diversion routes. East of Newick there was a full barrier across the road and cars were turning round. There was no-one manning the roadblock when I got to it at 9.30am on the morning of July 27.”
His views were echoed by bosses of local firms. At the Old Spot Farm Shop, manager Claire Baily said: “Our business was open as usual but it’s been quite a week. There were no signs at first telling people they could get to businesses.
“From Newick the road was completely blockaded - I don’t know why they couldn’t have closed half of it and operated the other side with light controlled signals.
“Some of our customers said they parked at Piltdown Ponds and walked to us. A delivery driver rang to say he couldn’t get to us - he didn’t know the area. When he asked a workman he was told: “I don’t know, it’s not my job.”
At Piltdown Golf Club, secretary Jill Wood said: “The so-called diversion signs were rubbish. I know the local roads but I watched several cars get completely lost and turn round in the road. We tried to notify people but they come from far and wide - we have about 30-40 a day visiting us. For example we had a visiting society from Kent. This is a real pain. I have no idea why they closed the entire road.”
Peter Thurman wrote to the head of ESCC highways: “Times are hard for local businesses and your failure to fulfil your statutory obligations is most regrettable. Apparently the restaurant The Lamb was 50 per cent down on lunchtime takings last Saturday.”
A council spokesman said: “Signs were put in place to warn motorists a section of the A272 was closed as road repairs were carried out.
“Drivers were directed along a suitable diversion route that ran via the A272 to North Chailey, A275 to Wych Cross and the A22 to the Batts Bridge roundabout. This diversion route was signposted in both directions. As with all roadworks, signs were erected to advise people that businesses operating along the stretch of road remained open.”