Roadworks lead to drop in footfall for Port Erin shops

By by Jackie Turley Twitter: @iomJackie in South

Port Erin businesses have been speaking out about the impact on trade of the regeneration works in Station Road.

Station Road from its junction with Bridson Street to Strand Road could be closed until early May while the work is completed.

Whistlestop Cafe, at the railway station, has faced disruption since last May.

Judith Cain, who has owned the cafe since 2008, said footfall had been unpredictable and some days were as much as 50 per cent down on normal for this time of the year.

’Sometimes it’s busy and some days are dire,’ she said.

’ You just can’t tell from one day to the next.’

She said that some of her elderly regulars struggled with the longer walk to the cafe. And that once inside, despite the warm welcome from staff, the sound of the works could be disruptive.

Staff have also been affected. ’I have had to reduce some staff hours,’ she said.

’You just can’t keep going at the rate you are. It’s pointless having a lot of staff on if you don’t need them.’

She thanked customers for their loyalty and urged more to check out their specials on their Facebook page.

Across the road, Mantons director Chris Beards said the impact of the works has been ’pretty drastic’.

’Takings are 70 per cent down on what we would expect them to be,’ he said.

’We were really surprised at how quiet it is and how much of an effect it’s had.’

He added: ’What we have guaranteed is that we will stay open our normal hours while it’s going on and the team will get their normal hours.’

He said that where they would expect to welcome 300 customers inside, they are only seeing 90.

’You put a lot of work, a lot of extra time and you commit, not just financially but emotionally as well,’ Chris said.

’It’s not ideal but it’s a case of stay positive and do as much as you can.

’The hope is everything is done on time and the road is reopened and we get back to where we should be.

’The quicker that happens, the better for us and everyone that wants to come into Port Erin.’

He too thanked customers for their support as well as suppliers, some of whom have offered to extend their payment periods.

Steve George of Port Erin Traders’ Association admitted the area looked like ’a bit of a bombsite’ but praised the contractor. He said the association has been doing what they can to support businesses.

He encouraged people to make use of the free parking at the back of the old police station off Droghadfayle Road.

And there’s large yellow signs to remind residents that businesses are open.

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Stephen · 176 days ago · Report

Wish I was a road contractor, one man working and nine standing around watching, no wonder the work takes so long.

ET · 184 days ago · Report

The Land of the Closed Road....Impact on commerce habitually appears to come a very poor second to convenience and ease of contractors engineering management. It's almost cultural and the public appear helpless to resist. Such practices are not common-place elsewhere for fairly obvious reasons. Here, well it's different. Survival for small businesses in particular is an art form.

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