PRESSURE is mounting on a council to reconsider vital repair works to a major road connecting visitors a county show.
Businesses which take part in the Northumberland County Show say it is scandalous that a vital access route will not be handed repair cash in time for the May event.
The B6309 that connects Stocksfield to Bywell is one of two main access roads to this year’s event.
The show opens for the first time at its new location on Lord Allendale’s grounds at Bywell in May, after 66 years at its previous site in Corbridge. A recent landslip took out a section of the road, but hopes had been raised that a £3m Government cash handout would save the day.
Instead, Northumberland County Council bosses say they will be unable to hurry up the roadworks.
The closure will mean people coming from the south side of the river face the choice of a six-mile detour via Ovingham, or a seven-mile detour via the Riding Mill roundabout. This has sparked concern among some of the businesses trading at this year’s show.
David Lawson Ceramics had a very successful day last year, winning the Best Trade Display and enjoying great sales from the thousands of people who flocked to the event.
David Lawson’s wife Emily Lawson, who was already “shocked” about the change in location, has spoken of her concern for this year’s show.
“The county show is a real family occasion, so you’d think access issues, as well as the change in location, will really put people off which would be an awful shame,” she said.
Another concerned trader, Claire Myers, said: “If access to the show ground is limited for whatever reason it does no favours for the traders/exhibitors, spectators or the show itself.”
Speaking at a meeting last week, Hexham MP Guy Opperman, who is backing the show’s organisers, said: “This is endemic of the council’s approach to fixing roads in Tynedale. As usual we are at the back of the queue.”
But council bosses say the extant of the work needed on the site is not yet known, though the size of the landslip indicates a substantial amount of work would be needed before the route is useable.
A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “We are committed to fixing all landslips that have occurred around the county.
“In the cases of both the Rothbury and Stocksfield landslips, we are still in the process of carrying out investigative work and so the repair solutions and consequential timescales are being finalised.”
Those wishing to back Mr Lawson’s efforts can go to www.davidlawsonceramics.com.