Five-mile road work detour 'threatens people's jobs'
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Just 400 yards of road works are set to send golfers on a five mile detour during what should be one of the club's busiest months.
Norfolk County Council is planning road works on West End, Costessey in August, forcing drivers heading to the Costessey Park Golf Club from Norwich on a detour.
Larry Rowe, the owner of the club, has raised concerns about the plans, saying they will be a “disaster” for his business, especially after suffering substantial losses due to Covid.
“For me, it is the worst time they could have picked to do it,” Mr Rowe said.
“This closure, coming in a very busy month for golf, threatens the viability of our business.”
Currently, golfers travelling from Norwich would head along West End, but the diversion would take them north through Taverham - right past one of Mr Rowe’s competitors.
If golfers decide not to come or stop off at his competitor along the way, Mr Rowe estimates the hit to his business could be anywhere between £40,000-60,000 for the month.
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“I have not made any staff redundant over the past 12 months of disruption, but I couldn’t furlough everyone," he said.
“In February my outgoings were £15,000 and my income was zero.
“We are reliant on coming out of this [pandemic] to make some money, I can’t keep losing money - it is threatening the golf club which threatens people’s jobs.”
Mr Rowe was not entirely against the work but said it could have been better timed to cause them less disruption.
On a busy day, Mr Rowe said the business gets around 15-20 visitors an hour, while in the winter it is only two or three.
“When it is the dark evenings our business tails off anyway, we have a four or five-month season where we do the majority of our trade," he said.
“It would take us a while to get back to where we were because people will look for somewhere else to go.”
A Norfolk County Council spokesman said the work was scheduled to avoid impacting the nearby school.
They said: “We’re carrying out essential pavement resurfacing work over the summer break as this work is weather dependant and will take four weeks to complete, and this period will also coincide with the nearby school being closed.
"A fully signed official diversion route will be in place at all times while the road is closed, and a safe pedestrian path will be provided past the work.”