Shropshire Star

Oswestry traders worried over major road closure

Closing an Oswestry town centre road for two months to allow for major roadworks to be carried out could have a "detrimental effect on already fragile businesses", it has been warned.


It was revealed last month that English Walls and the adjoining Smithfield Street in Oswestry could be shut for up to two months to allow for roadworks to be carried out – possibly seeing the road completely re-built – after engineers discovered it is in an "alarming" condition.

But councillors have warned the works could have a damaging impact on the town's independent traders.

Councillor Chris Schofield, who chairs the Oswestry Townscape and Transport Forum, said: "Obviously the works need carrying out, especially in the interests of safety but really we want as minimal disruption as possible.

"Two months is a long time for one of the main arteries into the town centre to be closed and we don't want to negatively impact on businesses that are already in a fragile position.

"That could have a really detrimental effect."

Councillor Mike Coppock, who owns town centre business Rowanthorn, said he believed when the work is carried out is one of the biggest concerns for traders.

He said: "Speaking as a trader myself I know that if the works were carried out during the summer months or the months leading up to Christmas, that would have the most detrimental effect on traders.

"I think the works being carried out during the autumn would be preferable for businesses."

English Walls - which follows the old route of the ancient walls - takes vehicles around the town's one way system and also has heavy pedestrian use, connecting the main car park with the retail streets.

Last month Shropshire Council's engineering consultants, Mouchel, said they were looking at how to address the failing carriageway.

Ben Corfield, senior engineer, said: "Structurally the carriageway is in an alarming condition.

"Ten trial holes have been dug and there is a risk that the carriageway may have to be fully reconstructed."

Shropshire Council has set a budget looking at a structural design that will provide for 20 years of use.

A further meeting between councillors and Mouchel is due to take place in the coming weeks.