HS2 roadworks are affecting footfall for Aylesbury businesses claim some owners

HS2 states it is working hard to minimise disruption during its project
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Some businesses in Aylesbury believe less customers visited their stores in recent weeks due to diversions and road closures linked to HS2 works.

Organisations located in the Layby Farm site in Stoke Mandeville believe footfall has fallen due to traffic diversions.

Businesses are pleading with people to not forget them after road slowing measures made it harder for customers to reach the site.

Trisha Woodcock, photo from Animal News AgencyTrisha Woodcock, photo from Animal News Agency
Trisha Woodcock, photo from Animal News Agency

HS2 states it works hard to keep disruption to a minimum and states that all roads are reopen now.

Loss of customers was linked to the works on Nash Lee Road and the closure in south Wendover on the A413.

Amongst the business leaders that use the site in Stoke Mandeville is Ruth Higgins who owns Bucks Goat Centre, she believes customers might have missed the turn onto their tourism venue due to nearby works obstructing road signs.

She said: "We are still open as normal, and the animals are happy and unaffected by the works, but the road diversions and closures are a problem. We are appealing to visitors not to forget about us, we are still just the same as ever and are looking forward to a fun summer of activities for families."While you are on site the HS2 works are not an issue and we are the same as ever, it is just getting here which seems to be a problem, and I think we are now less visible from the road."

One of the famed animals at  Bucks Goat Centre, photo from Animal News AgencyOne of the famed animals at  Bucks Goat Centre, photo from Animal News Agency
One of the famed animals at Bucks Goat Centre, photo from Animal News Agency
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To limit disruption HS2 attempts to schedule works overnight, but the A413 was closed for an entire weekend to complete excavation work ahead of a realignment project.

Works on Nash Lee Road was linked to setting up diversion routes which will allow roads to remain connected while the rail project continues.

Bucks Council kept the road closed for a week after the rail project finished its construction to conduct surfacing works.

Trisha Woodcock has run the Obsidian Art Gallery on Layby Farm for 21 years.

To help encourage people to visit, Trish has organised a special Arts and Culture Festival, which will be held on July 29.

Trisha said: "We have definitely noticed a drop in footfall and it is increasing week on week."That's why we have organised the festival at the end of the month, to encourage people to come back to the site, and then they will realise again how much we have to offer."

HS2 works in the area got off to a bad start in 2020, when contractors Fusion entered the Goat Centre site in error and started cutting down hedgerows, in an area containing a memorial bench dedicated to the farm's founder.Ruth added: "It has been a hard road and we have had next to no support from HS2 throughout the process. But we are open, everyone is here and ready to receive visitors, so please support us as we battle on."

A fundraiser has been launched by The Bucks Goat Centre, which can be found here.

A HS2 spokesman said: “We are working hard to keep road closures to a minimum and reduce disruption for residents during the construction of the railway. Access for Layby Farm has been maintained throughout our recent works and all local roads are now open.”