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Beaminster trade picking up after landslip tragedy
Beaminster traders report that in the last month business has started picking up.
After the tunnel closed following the landslide that claimed the lives of Michael Rolfe and Rosemary Snell in August, the road was closed and businesses suffered badly.
Nigel Reeve, chairman of the chamber of commerce, pictured, told Beaminster town councillors that since then, more road signs have been placed and a marketing campaign has been implemented.
He said: “Without a shadow of a doubt business has picked up again.
“Overall it is fairly good news for everybody and the feeling is it has picked up quite a bit since the Olympics.
“There is a lot of feedback that more and more new faces are being seen in the town.
“There is a strong feeling we have all got to remain pulling together.”
And to do that there is talk of making the Christmas lights festival an even bigger event over four or five days to pull more crowds into the town.
Mr Reeve added: “It has got to be made into something much bigger as an opportunity for the town council and the chamber of commerce to work together to make it into something much, much larger.”
He added: “We all suffered a huge downturn in business after the tunnel tragedy.
“But our advertising campaign has been successful with 5,000 leaflets printed and a 16-page booklet brought out earlier this year is now going up to 20 pages and could have been 28 with enough people wanting to advertise.
“Fifteen thousand of those are being printed and that will come out in the middle of October.
“If we don’t make an impact after that I don’t think we ever will.”
Local businesses have also met to discuss more marketing ideas, including a ‘Buy Local’ campaign.
Councillors agreed that making the Christmas festival a much bigger event was a good idea.
Options for tunnel plan
OPTIONS for long-term repairs to the Beaminster Tunnel will be unveiled at a public meeting next month.
The A3066 road has been closed at the tunnel at Horn Hill since the landslip which claimed the lives of two people in early July.
The meeting is on Thursday, October 18 at 6.30pm at Beaminster’s Public Hall, by which time engineers will know whether a temporary shield extending the tunnel is possible in order to re-open the road in the short term.
Specialists have been investigating the site to find out more about the hillside and existing tunnel in recent weeks. They have dug five boreholes up to 25 metres deep in the hill, investigated the foundations of the tunnel entrance walls and extracted samples for further investigation. When the data is analysed, Dorset County Council engineers will have a better idea of which options are possible.
At the meeting engineers will explain the options in more detail and answer questions from residents.
Cabinet holder for highways Coun Peter Finney said: “We are working extremely hard to get the information we need to make the right choice for Beaminster Tunnel.”