Worksop: Shops fear for future after bus stops removed
Concerned shopkeepers on a Worksop street fear they will be ‘forgotten’ after nearby bus stops were removed as part of the new bus station development.
The stops on Hardy Street have now been taken down following the opening of the town’s £3.2million interchange, which opened at the end of August.
Passengers now wait for buses at the new facility at the junction of Newcastle Avenue and Watson Road.
The business owners say that fewer people will now have reason to visit, leaving them out of pocket.
Owner of Stop ‘n’ Shop, John Jewitt, said: “When the bus station opened we expected a decrease in trade but were shocked when after one day our takings fell by 80 per cent and are continuing to do so.
“We were not against the council providing better facilities for passengers waiting for buses in Hardy Street and were very active in collecting signatures for campaigning for a bus station.
“Stop ‘n’ Shop will continue to be open in Hardy Street simply because we have no choice as we are tied into a lease.”
John and his wife Marina have run the shop for more than three years, but say they are now set to open a sweet stall in the town’s market to make up their losses.
“We have approached the market superintendent who has listened to our plight and will give a decision shortly regarding a market stall so we can salvage at least part of our business,” John added.
“We have been in Hardy Street for three years now and have seen other traditional sweet shops come and go in the town, we hope both new and previous customers will support our business and continue to visit our shop.”
The fall in custom has resulted in the shop putting up signs informing people that they have not moved.
The store is hopeful that when 13 new parking bays are installed on the road on Friday, October 16, custom might improve.
Marina, who also works in the shop, said: “It is disappointing. We used to get between 150 to 170 customers a day, but now it is more like 40.”
Shop assistant Ray Wallace said: “It is very sad with what is happening.”
The Guardian spoke to staff at The Crusty Cob cafe on the same street, who said they had not noticed any drop in business at the current time.
However, fellow owners of another nearby cafe, who did not want to be named, said that they are ‘worried’ for the future and have noticed a drop in custom in the mornings.
Councillor Kevin Greaves, chairman of the county council’s transport and highways committee, said: “As well as encouraging more people to use public transport, the new bus station will provide much-improved accessibility to the town centre and be a major boost to the economy of the town.”
“The bus shelters have already been taken down and we are due to carry out work along there to maintain the existing one-way traffic system.
“We will also be installing free, one-hour parking bays where the bus bays used to be, which will cater for up to 13 cars.
“These are due to come into effect from October 16 and will enable people to park much closer to the Hardy Street shops.
He added: “So, far from forgetting about the businesses in Hardy Street, we hope that the offer of an hour’s free parking will encourage more people to look to park in this part of town, thereby improving footfall for nearby shops.
“Our experience where we have built new bus stations is that they encourage more visitors.”