Valleys trader chiefs want Welsh government compensation
TRADERS whose businesses suffered during the construction of the Têtes de Vallées road say they are still waiting for financial support.
The proposed A465 widening in North Gwent has resulted in frequent road closures and disruptions, resulting in heavy traffic on the main streets from Brynmawr to Gilwern.
Senedd member Peter Fox said the Welsh Government had “reassured” affected traders that they would receive financial support to mitigate trade losses caused by the roadworks.
But some traders in the area say that help has not yet arrived.
Fay Bromfield is co-owner of Gilwern-based Bromfields Butchers. She said: “The Welsh Government promised us financial support, but that was broken.
“Admittedly, the Welsh Government once sent representatives to meet us, but they weren’t the right officials – it was a classic example of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing.
“We have endured so much worry and anxiety, and it is even worse because there is no end in sight.”
She added: “The road closures have hit our business, along with countless others, and we desperately need the compensation so we can use it to try and encourage lost customers to come back to our business. .”
Another trader, Desmond Rogers, of Rogers, a Brynmawr-based shoe company, echoed those calls.
He said: “My 102-year-old business has been around for a long time, but even we have been hit by road closures. Other businesses are worse off and that’s why I want the Welsh Government to honor their word and helps businesses in this area.”
Construction work on the A465 roadworks in North Gwent began in late 2014, with the aim of widening the road to two lanes in each direction. The government notes that the road is “essential to the social and economic regeneration of the Valley Chiefs region” and said the widening project would “improve access to key services, jobs and markets”.
But for business owners living close to the A465, a wave of road closures and traffic diversions has had a significant impact on footfall, including in Brynmawr, where traders told the Argus the city was “fighting for its survival”.
Such complaints have reached the Senedd, and Mr Fox – who represents the Monmouth constituency for the Welsh Conservatives – said the ‘painful situation’ for businesses would ‘require all stops to be withdrawn to be resolved’.
‘We have seen enough erosion of our main streets, without the additional damage caused by the works on the A465,’ he added. “It is now up to the Welsh Government to get their law sorted and get businesses back on their feet.”
The Welsh Government has been asked to comment on traders’ concerns and outline its financial support plan.