Belco road closure hitting’ businesses
A year-long closure of a section of a road so construction of a new power station at utility firm Belco has already affected businesses in the area, it was claimed yesterday.
Business owners in the area of Cemetery Road said the work did not need the closure of a section of Cemetery Road in Pembroke for so long.
David Rowntree, owner of window specialists TreeCon, said: “I understand they have to provide electricity, but to close the road all day, I don’t think it is necessary.
He added: “It interferes with the flow of traffic that normally would flow through here all day.”
He pointed out that the construction being carried out by Belco is near St John’s Road and the site could be accessed from there.
Mr Rowntree said: “I have no idea why they have to close this road.”
He added the road was also used by drivers to avoid traffic congestion during peak hours.
Mr Rowntree said that businesses were only notified of the closure after the affected areas were blocked off.
He added: “I only knew about it when I saw it in the newspaper and I got an e-mail on Monday.”
Jennifer McCarron, owner of the Animal and Garden House, said she was not aware that the road would be closed for 12 months until she saw a story in The Royal Gazette.
She added: “It would have been helpful if it were advertised prior.”
Ms McCarron said she has seen a decline in customers “as soon as they put the signs up”.
She had been told by a Belco representative that the road would be closed but not for how long.
The closure order affected Tribe Road between St John’s Road and Cemetery Road and a section of Cemetery Road between Cemetery Lane and the bridge to Gorham’s.
The areas are closed to pedestrians and traffic from December 10 to January 2020.
One woman in the area, who asked not to be named, said the closure would not have a major impact on pedestrians or drivers.
She added that Cemetery Road was most often used only as a shortcut and that road users would take alternative routes.
The woman said: “This is like a short cut. I don’t think it will affect traffic, it is rarely used.”
She added: “It’s not major. The important thing is to let people know it is closed.”
Saltus Grammar School, which is just outside the affected area, said it had advised parents of the closure and asked them to make alternative plans for peak-hour traffic.
A school spokeswoman said it had not yet received any complaints, but would monitor the situation.
She added: “We are yet to see if there will be a major impact.”
Belco signed a $107.5 million deal to fund the construction of the new North Power Station in July. It said at the time that the construction of the new plant would result in the removal and disposal of nine older engines and the commissioning of four “new, more efficient engines”.
Belco added: “The cost for maintenance and fuel will be less. The replacement generation will also lead to better system reliability, cleaner operations for the environment and a significant decrease in the vibration and noise levels currently experienced by nearby residents.”
The firm said yesterday it would reveal more about the extent of the work and the need for the road closures later this week.
• The customer service centre at Belco will shut for the Christmas break at noon on Monday and reopen on December 27.
Customers can make payments on Monday afternoon at the Money Shop in the Washington Mall, All Talk in St George’s and MarketPlace in Somerset. Customers can also pay online with a Mastercard at belco.bm or online through their bank account.