A BUSINESSMAN believes a £400,000 makeover of Upton-upon-Severn town centre will bring nothing but “misery and disruption”.
After its start was delayed by the recent snow, Worcestershire County Council has now begun work to improve road surfaces, pavements and crossing points in High Street, Lower High Street and Old Street.
It says this will boost the local economy by making the town centre safer and more attractive for residents and visitors alike.
But Peter Lynch Williams, director of air charter supply business Flaps International, based in Tunnel Hill, has slammed the scheme, describing it as “the sack of Upton”. He said road closures and disruptions in the coming weeks would be “calamitous” and questioned whether “beleaguered citizens of Upton” would see any benefits.
“Have these people no concept of the real financial difficulties facing businesses in the town, many of whom stand at the very cliff edge of calamity?” he said.
“While as residents we are only too pleased to accept government largesse in the form of the new and excellent flood barrier, who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to once more assume the role of ‘business prevention czar’?”
Mr Lynch Williams said he did not believe there had been adequate public consultation and that time and money would have been better spent raising the flood-prone Hanley Road and imposing a 7.5-tonne weight limit on the main street through the town.
But a county council spokesman said the scheme was only agreed after detailed discussions with traders, the town council and Upton Tourism and Trade Association (UTTA).
“Plans for the final scheme, which included several changes identified by these key groups, were available to view at the town hall and library from July 11 to August 24 and comments invited. The scheme was modified further, where appropriate, to reflect the views of local people,” he said.
Traders had been consulted on when best to carry out the work and that great care had been taken to limit any full closures of the High Street to Sundays only.
“This investment in the area is being made to enhance the local economy, improve safety and open up access to the town centre as well as generally improving the environment,” he said. Annette Keyworth, chairman of UTTA, said the project was very welcome and would be a “real asset” for the town.