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Bampton shops' trade dries up due to Tadpole Bridge closure
BUSINESSES in Bampton have suffered a dramatic fall in trade during the temporary closure of Tadpole Bridge.
The 18th century River Thames crossing, on Buckland Road, was closed by Oxfordshire County Council on September 10 to repair damaged masonry.
Since then businesses have seen trade drop by up to 50 per cent as commuters between south and west Oxfordshire have been rerouted.
County Hall said the bridge is expected to reopen a week today.
Tony Scott, owner of Budgens supermarket in Bampton, said takings were down 20 per cent – equivalent to £50,000 or closing for a week – and staff hours had been cut.
He said: “We saw an immediate downturn in trade and that pattern has basically continued throughout the period.
“Essentially, there is no longer any passing trade coming through Bampton.
“We cannot argue with the fact that the repairs were needed to the bridge but why was it left to deteriorate to such an extent that the bridge needed to be closed for such a length of time?
“We should be looking at maintenance on an on-going basis so that if it happens again it is closed for a shorter period of time.”
Yasar Iletmis, owner of Bampton Coffee House, said: “I have been here five years and this is the worst time we have ever had. Takings are nearly 50 per cent down on last year, if not more.
“Buckland Road is the main road to Bampton and the only customers we have now are villagers – no one is passing through.”
Olly Wills, manager of Bampton Garden Plants, said: “I would say we are probably down around 20 per cent.
“I guess we are slightly insulated because we are a small business and we do not rely so much on footfall, but it has cost us a few thousand pounds.
“But the work needed to be done and I am thankful it was done at this time of year, rather than in spring, when we're busiest.”
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “We sympathise with any business affected by roadworks and always strive to get the job done as swiftly and effectively as possible.
“No one wants to see roads closed for long periods but, unfortunately, the reality with any road bridge is that at some point it will require significant maintenance, making a lengthy closure and associated disruption unavoidable.
“The county council maintains more than 1,000 road bridges across Oxfordshire. Arranging a programme of continuous ‘small-scale’ repairs in the hope of preventing the need for major works would require resources well beyond the reach of any highways authority and, in most cases, just wouldn’t succeed.
“In addition, people would rightly question the need for repeated disruption at a single location.”
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