March hotelier puts up his own road sign as trade plummets due to roadworks

PUBLISHED: 09:50 10 September 2010 | UPDATED: 12:13 11 September 2010

Hotelier Rob Skoulding with the sign to show that Oliver Cromwell Hotel is open for business

Hotelier Rob Skoulding with the sign to show that Oliver Cromwell Hotel is open for business

Archant

DEFIANT hotelier Rob Skoulding put up his own road sign to let everyone know he is open for business and said: "If the council don't like it they can take me to court."

The angry March businessman says trade has plummeted at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel since part of the town’s High Street was closed for five weeks while gas mains are upgraded.

On Wednesday, he attached his sign to an official one with an arrow to the hotel entrance.

Mr Skoulding claims potential diners are confused about whether the hotel is open and customers from out of town who have room bookings are unsure of how they can get to the hotel.

He said: “I have had lots of complaints from residents and it has certainly hit our restaurant trade.

“People who have not been here before think it is such an awkward place to get to they will not bother to book again.

“We had a poor day on Sunday because people just cannot be bothered to come through the roadworks.

“But I feel more sorry for the little shops because they rely on passing trade and just live from week to week.”

Part of High Street was closed last year for work on the gas mains and Mr Skoulding has been told there will be further work next year necessitating another closure.

He said: “That will be the third year running we have had to suffer like this.

“If we were in France or any other European country it would have been done in a week. They would have had more manpower and got the job done.

“They have three men doing this and they stop work at 5pm. There is nothing done at a weekend.”

Mr Skoulding believes the road could be reopened at weekends with a one-way system in operation.

The work is being carried out by National Grid in partnership with Morrison Utility Services.

A spokesman for Morrison said: “Every effort will be made to complete the work as quickly as we can to minimise disruption.”

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