Roadworks diversion threatens future of Earby pub

Michell Cooper and Paul Morley of The Punch Bowl in Earby are appealing to NYCC for loss of earnings due to the closure of the road.
Michell Cooper and Paul Morley of The Punch Bowl in Earby are appealing to NYCC for loss of earnings due to the closure of the road.

A landlady in Earby is fighting to save her business after a section of over-running roadworks on a major trunk route have scuppered passing evening trade.

Michelle Cooper, landlady at the Punch Bowl in Skipton Road, is struggling to pay her bills after seeing trade plummet dramatically due to seven weeks of roadworks at Wysick Hill on the A56.

The road has been closed between 7pm and midnight and a diversion set up.

Mrs Cooper is unhappy with North Yorkshire County Council as she says she had no prior warning of the roadworks.

She has also accused the council of skimping on costs by not paying contractors a higher rate to do the work during the night.

Mrs Cooper is seeking some form of business compensation and has the support of Earby Town Council.

She said: “I’m not going to lie, trade has been tough lately, but these last few weeks have crippled me. I can’t pay my bills. This is my livelihood and my kids.

“It’s soul destroying and breaking my heart. But people won’t wait forever for their money.

“I don’t know why they (the county council) won’t pay the contractors through the night, there would be no disruption to anybody then.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said the delay was because the initial work was not up to standard on inspection and that work should be completed by today.

The statement added: “The county council is carrying out the road repairs under its statutory powers and duties under the highways act and there is therefore no requirement to compensate for any loss of trade.

“However, the county council recognises that the works must be done as efficiently and effectively as possible and regrets the delay on this occasion.

“The work was carried out in the evening to minimise disruption to traffic during the day. Night-time working is carried out in exceptional circumstances and on major roads where disruption has to be kept to a minimum to avoid large-scale congestion.”