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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Cockermouth traders report drop in trade during Main Street closure

Trade in Cockermouth has declined following the decision to close the town’s Main Street to carry out a £1.7 million improvement scheme.

That is the prevailing opinion of some business owners in the town nearly two weeks after the county council decided to close the road between Sullart Street and Station Street for 10 weeks.

Some traders have said that their businesses haven’t been too badly affected but others have noticed a drop in customers.

Catherine Bell, owner of Cockermouth Paper Shop on Main Street, said: “It’s very quiet. I have noticed a massive loss in footfall.

“People are scared about coming into town and not being able to park.”

Andrew Reed, a butcher at W Lindsay & Sons on Station Street, said: “The work has hurt our trade a lot.

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“Customers are saying they are having difficulty getting parked.

“It’s a quiet time of the year but this isn’t doing us any favours whatsoever. It’s as if they have shut the town down.”

Margaret Miller, manager of Bryson’s bakery on Main Street, said: “We are quieter than usual but our regulars are faithful.”

But some business owners are remaining positive and have said it isn’t all doom and gloom.

Anne Trafford, owner of Annabelle’s on Main Street, said: “The good weather this week has brought people out and a lot know about the free parking in the town.”

Jenna Harrison, manager of Tony Harrison Butchers on Main Street, said: “We are doing fine. It seems a little quiet and passing trade is down. But I think a lot of people are making an effort to get to Cockermouth.”

Billy Bowman, owner of Billy Bowman’s Music Shop on Lowther Went, said: “Through the day it isn’t difficult getting in and out of Cockermouth. There have been too many people shouting doom and gloom.”

Andy Walsh, chairman of the town’s Chamber of Trade, said: “There are plenty of people about. It’s not a ghost town.

“We are monitoring the situation. We just want them to finish the job. The quicker, the better.”

Shoppers can take advantage of free parking in the town’s Wakefield Road and Sullart Street car parks for two hours.

A drop-in session for traders will run at the town hall on Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm.

Work is expected to last until May, when the second phase will begin between High Sand Lane and Cocker Bridge, which is set to be completed by August.

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