Contact the Bridport News with your stories, pictures and video footage. Send us an email
Beaminster traders fight back to reclaim business
TRADERS have insisted that Beaminster is fighting back from the blow to business from the nearby tunnel closure.
The Beaminster tunnel has been shut since a landslide which killed two people in floods in early July.
Members of the Beaminster Chamber of Commerce held a meeting recently to probe ways to step up their campaign to promote the town.
Chamber chairman Nigel Reeve said: “Beaminster is really fighting back. It was encouraging to see so many businesses there.
“The majority were really positive and we want to use this as a springboard to boost business even further.”
The tunnel closure has hit trade despite signs being placed around the area, including on the A35 in Bridport , stressing that the town is open for business.
Traders got together to look at additional ways to boost business as the tunnel looks set to be closed for a number of months.
The chamber has launched a media campaign with 5,000 flyers going to hotels, tourist information centres and libraries within a 20- mile radius of Beaminster.
Also a series of half page advertisements are running in newspapers and a four-week radio campaign is also running in September.
A Beaminster booklet is being produced which is going to 15,000 homes via the Royal Mail. Ideas to come out of the latest meeting included extra flyers promoting businesses close to the tunnel, a campaign to shop locally, mentoring advice for businesses and more support for the Beaminster Christmas lights.
The tunnel was closed when a landslide blocked the road and damaged masonry in July.
Some weeks later it was discovered that Somerset couple Rosemary Snell, 67, of Misterton, and Michael Rolfe, 72, were killed when their car was crushed in the landslide.
Dorset County Council has started work probing the damage and stability of the tunnel.
Matthew Jones, principal engineer at Dorset County Council, said: “Engineers are still working on site to investigate the stability of the land on top of Beaminster Tunnel. It’s too early to say what the solution will be.
“We are aware that local people are eager for a quick solution, but this is a very tricky situation and careful consideration needs to be made about the best course of action. We will continue to keep local people informed.”
Police said the incident was still being investigated as a road traffic collision on behalf of the coroner.