Beaminster: Traders launch 'business as usual' campaign after takings fall due to tunnel diversions (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Beaminster: Traders launch 'business as usual' campaign after takings fall due to tunnel diversions
TRADERS in Beaminster are mounting a campaign to get the message across that it is ‘business as usual’ in the town.
Following the landslip at Horn Hill tunnel, which led to the tragic deaths of two people during the floods last month, the main A3066 axis road between Bridport , Crewkerne and the A303 has been blocked to the north of the town.
Faced with the prospect of the indefinite closure of the tunnel road and diversions in place for what could be many months, businesses and councillors are working hard to ensure that the world knows that the town is open for business.
Nigel Reeve, chairman of the Beaminster and District Busin-ess Chamber, said that the situation was proving challenging.
He said: “When the tragedy happened it was awful, of course nobody wanted to talk about their business suffering.
“Now we must find a practical way of dealing with a situation that exists and we do not know how long it will carry on.
“Immediately after the tunnel was closed, an emergency diversion was put in place.
“The downside is that this took business right away from the town centre which, after a few days, began to affect business.
“These diversions are now being corrected with vehicles able to come out right in the town centre.
“In addition, we are starting a major campaign to promote the town to make sure everyone realises it is business as usual.
“The exact details are still being finalised but it involves an advertising campaign, thousands of flyers, a promotional booklet distributed within a 15-mile radius of the town and additional signs.”
Leading chef and ex-Master-Chef champion Mat Follas , who runs the Wild Garlic restaurant in The Square, said his restaurant had suffered but stressed that Beaminster was open for business.
He said: “Really good things are happening in Beaminster.
“I think there are four different cafes, including a vegetarian one, French patisserie – a new cafe is in the process of opening in Cilla and Camilla.”
Sally Ann Palmer, joint owner of Cilla and Camilla gift and home shops on The Square, said that at this time of year visitors accounted for the majority of their customers.
She said: “If visitors aren’t driving through, they won’t come and have a look.
“If they are being directed away from the town, then we won’t have their business.”
Town and county councillor Rebecca Knox stressed the importance of local people continuing to use local facilities as well as encouraging visitors to come to the town.