Shopkeepers and residents have reacted with relief at the news that North Street in Emsworth will probably close for just two days during the autumn.
As reported, Dusty Lucas, landlord of The Railway Inn in North Street, started a petition as the original plan was for the council to close the road at the railway bridge for 10 weeks. It comes as work must be done to rebuild a dangerous collapsed wall.
At a planning meeting last night at The Plaza in Havant, it emerged the council had secured an experienced contractor which will only need to close the road for a matter of days. The contractor has the skills and equipment to not need to close the road for a long period of time.
However, the cost of the job and who will pay for it is now likely to be the main talking point.
A complete rebuild of the wall would cost Havant Borough Council £130,000, which would have to come from reserves and ultimately taxpayers’ cash.
The council has proposed to rebuild the wall itself because, despite its best efforts, nobody knows who owns the wall.
Meanwhile, the highway authority, Hampshire County Council, is proposing to remove the wall and re-landscape the land behind it – a cheaper option potentially.
However, it is proposing to bill the cost to the residents whose land abuts the wall.
Last night borough councillors voted unanimously to approve rebuilding of the wall to the highest specifications so it would last another 100 years.
But the authority’s Conservative cabinet will have the final say. It will meet on September 2 to decide whether to give the scheme the final go-ahead and decide if the council can afford to carry out the work.
Emsworth councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray said: ‘Whichever option, it’s now going to be a couple of days.
‘The spectre of a long road closure has disappeared.’
But he added: ‘I don’t think we should spend £130,000 repairing someone else’s wall.’
Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, was pleased traders would not be affected by the work. ‘It’s fantastic,’ he said. ‘Ten weeks was basically cutting the village in half. Two days is acceptable.’