Publican blasts council over road closure

From right, Andrew Balderson, Amanda Kenney and Jake Balderson with staff members George Stores and Mark Flynn. (140302AM1)
From right, Andrew Balderson, Amanda Kenney and Jake Balderson with staff members George Stores and Mark Flynn. (140302AM1)

The owner of a Ripon pub has blasted council officials for failing to consult him on the month-long closure of the road outside his business.

Andrew Balderson, who runs the Black a Moor Inn on the B6265 Ripon to Boroughbridge road with his family, only discovered it was going to be shut for culvert repairs after reading last week’s Ripon Gazette.

Mr Balderson, who employs 11 people with his partner Amanda Kenney and son Jake, 25, fears the closure – from Friday, March 14, to Friday, April 11 – will drastically reduce trade.

“Nobody has been to talk to me.

“I just feel we’ve been kicked in the teeth,” said Mr Balderson, who took over the pub 12 months ago.

The B6265 has had temporary traffic lights for several months to ensure the safety of road users after North Yorkshire County Council was alerted to the damaged culvert on October 23.

A spokesman for the council said inspections revealed a new culvert was required and the four weeks of work will involve the old brick culvert being replaced with pre-cast box culvert units, and some road reconstruction.

Mr Balderson said: “I understand and accept that the road needs to be closed.

“My main concern is there has been no contact with me.”

The county council says all lorry and major traffic will be diverted via the A61 and A1(M).

Local traffic and non-motorised vehicles will be diverted via Pasture Lane and Skelton Lane.

The roadworks are due to finish before the racing season starts at Ripon Racecourse and events begin at Newby Hall.

Mr Balderson said: “I don’t even know if they will put a sign at each end saying ‘Access to the Black a Moor – follow the diversion signs’. Nobody seems to want to bother. There’s been no communication.” The pub owner says his business needs to serve 600 meals a week to keep things on an even keel and relies heavily on passing trade.

“The inn also has five rooms, which enjoy a 70 per cent occupancy rate.

“The closure is definitely going to affect bums on seats for meals,” said Mr Balderson.

“We had 22 bookings for Sunday but ended up doing 110 meals for the day – that’s from people passing by.

“If I’m doing no business I can’t afford to pay my staff.”

Mr Balderson said he had been told that during a previous closure of the B6265 in 1979 a temporary bridge was put across a field to maintain traffic flow and wondered if the county council had explored this possibility.

No-one from North Yorkshire County Council was available for comment on the issues raised by Mr Balderson before the Gazette went to press but the authority said it would issue a statement next week.