A business owner says he is losing up to £400 a day due to delays caused by road closures.
David Warren, whose firm is based at Sittingbourne’s Eurolink Business Park, is calling for the council to delay all non-essential roadworks until the M2 Junction 5 slip roads reopen.
The director of Astar Maintenance Contractors said: “We’ve got a workforce of 20 and we work on contracts in the Medway towns and locally for letting agents and estate agents.
“We mainly deal with planned works such as kitchen renewals, wet rooms, bathrooms and some responsive call-out work as well.
“For my company, travelling is absolutely key because we’re working in people’s homes every day.
“They’re expecting us on site normally between eight and nine o’clock in the morning.
“Our clients have their own commitments such as school runs and they need to let us in the property so they can get off to work themselves.”
Some of the road closures across Swale and Medway
However, due to many motorists using Rainham and Sittingbourne as a diversion for the M2 coastbound entry and exit slip roads closures, the 57-year-old, from Minster, says the traffic is impacting everyone.
He said: “The effects of the roadworks across Swale and Medway have been just extremely detrimental to everybody.
“It’s not just the money it’s costing us as a business but also it’s the disruption to our clients.
“I think we’re losing between £300 and £400 a day in lost productivity.
“That is just purely because I’ve got a large workforce and predominantly they’re sitting in traffic in roadworks trying to get to their place of work.
David Warren outside Astar Maintenance Ltd at the Eurolink Business Park in Sittingbourne
“If we’re doing call-out work it can sometimes take an hour to get from one side of the town to the other just because of roadworks and traffic congestion.”
David, who is in charge of 20 workmen and 10 vehicles, explained how he “totally understands” the work happening at the Stockbury Roundabout, which will see the current junction replaced with a £92 million flyover.
But with the slip roads due to be shut until January, he wants someone to be held accountable for the reason why so many other road closures are happening at the same time in the area.
He said: “I totally get the long-term benefits for the town with regards to the Stockbury Roundabout roadworks but the issue is that we’ve also got the problem with all the other non-related roadworks.
“There are back roads that are closed and numerous road closures between Sittingbourne and Faversham.
“The Lower Road at Teynham is closed as is the Lower Road in Rainham and these are the routes that myself and my workers use to try and bypass other roadworks on the A2 between Key Street and Newington.
“I think whoever’s made the decision to have these routes closed at exactly the same time as we’ve got extensive roadworks at Junction 5 on the M2 needs to be held accountable.
“It’s almost like they’re a faceless person and they need to be held to account because we’re really, really starting to struggle especially with the money it is costing us.”
Thankfully, the majority of David’s customers haven’t complained about the issues caused by the roadworks.
He said: “By and large our clients are understanding but it’s frustrating for tenants because we’re constantly having to ring them up and say ‘I’m sorry, we’re running late’.
David Warren says his business is losing up to £400 a day due to roadworks in the area
“In one journey we could ring a customer several times because we’re still stuck in traffic.
“It’s a legitimate excuse but it’s not one that doesn’t come without its problems and frustrations.
“We’re constantly letting people down because of the traffic in the area.
“I totally get the Stockbury Roundabout closures but you can’t have all the other non-essential roadworks going on at the same time.
“It’s hurting local business dramatically and the council needs to seriously consider delaying these non-essential closures until after the Junction 5 slip roads reopen.”
T Cars is another business affected by the roadworks in Sittingbourne
Terry White also runs his business, T Cars, out of the business park.
The 73-year-old said: “We dread the thought of going out on a job because one that should take 10 minutes is actually taking an hour.
“All us business owners are sitting here in October with no real idea of what is planned for November and December.
“For all we know it could just get even worse.
“The infrastructure of the town isn’t made for this and any non-essential roadworks between now and the end of the Stockbury Roundabout works should be cancelled.”
‘The diversion routes used have been agreed with several local authorities and the emergency services…’
Kent County Council and Medway Council have been contacted for comment.
National Highways has previously said it was doing everything it could to encourage drivers to stick to the approved diversions.
Coastbound M2 traffic heading for Sittingbourne and Sheppey is being diverted via the A229 Blue Bell Hill, M20 and A249.
Anyone wanting to head coastbound from Junction 5 is advised to use the London-bound M2 to Junction 4 before doubling back on themselves.
“The diversion routes used have been agreed with several local authorities and the emergency services,” said a National Highways spokesman.
“They are clearly signposted using yellow and black signs, as well as VMS signs as far back as the M25.
“We have communicated this closure well in advance via our website, bulletins, resident letters, drop in clinics, and signs on the road.
“These closures will be monitored and reviewed if necessary.
“We appreciate that these roadworks may cause delays and disruption, and are grateful for people’s patience while we deliver this important upgrade at junction 5 on the M2.”