Hambledon could lose historic shop due to roadworks

Work laying the large underground pipe in Hambledon
Work laying the large underground pipe in Hambledon
  • Couple say they are desperate for financial support
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A VILLAGE could lose one of its last surviving shops after roadworks crippled trade.

Martin and Debbie Clark, who run Lotts General Store in Hambledon, have spoken of their frustration as their shop is in the centre of a construction site.

The main road through Hambledon was closed last month when a £4.3m scheme started on building a huge underground pipe that should put an end to the village’s flooding woes.
The couple welcome the flood alleviation scheme, but say traders have been left in the lurch by the authorities because no financial help is being offered during the work.

The roadworks are expected to last 15 months.

Lotts General Store has been part of village life since Victorian times.

Mr Clark said: ‘The trade has dropped to such an extent we’re losing hand over fist.

‘One day we had a dozen customers all day from 8am.

‘We could close it down and that will be a shop lost to the village.

‘Every time we switch a light bulb on, we are wondering whether we can cover the electric bill.

‘We are completely desperate.

‘The area has ground to a halt. We need some financial assistance.’

The couple received financial help following the floods last year.

Councillor Sean Woodward, in charge of environment at Hampshire County Council which is overseeing the project, said: ‘Our contractor is working hard to make sure that deliveries and other day-to-day business are affected as little as possible.

‘We’re building in phased sections, so only a small part of the road will be closed at any one time. While the road is closed to through-traffic, we’re making sure that it is possible for people to have access to all the buildings, including Lotts General Store, at all times, even if it means, at times, they may not be able to park as close as they are used to.

‘We have also been working with the economic development team at Winchester City Council to give the best support we can to businesses. That includes “open as usual” signs, as well as clear directions and local publicity.’

He said the council was not liable to pay compensation.