‘We’re still open’

Jacqui Gettings pictured outside her York Road premises where road improvemnts are underway.
Jacqui Gettings pictured outside her York Road premises where road improvemnts are underway.

CHARITY shop bosses have reassured supporters “it’s business as usual” despite the disruption of eight weeks of roadworks.

Work started on Monday this week on the next phase of a major traffic scheme on Hartlepool’s busy York Road.

But staff at Epilepsy Outlook in York Road say they’re already being hit. Operations manager Jacqui Gettings said: “The footfall has already been affected but it will hit deliveries and collections as well.”

January is normally a busy time for the charity.

Jacqui explained: “This is usually when people have had new things for Christmas so they have a clearout of their old stuff and donate them to us.

“But this has really knocked us. If it’s lasting for eight weeks, it could affect us for a full quarter and that could have an impact on our ability to deliver services.”

The charity helps people with epilepsy. It also gives support and practical advice to their families and carers.

Its York Road centre has a number of functions:

l It has a shop where people can buy goods to raise money for the charity;

l It has a drop-off point for people making donations to be sold in the shop;

l It has an advice centre for people wanting help with issues on epilepsy;

l And it is the base for a weekly art club.

Jacqui urged anyone with donations to take them to the charity’s shop in Oxford Road instead.

But she also reassured people that the shop and the other facilities at the centre in York Road were still operating as normal.

The latest phase of road improvements will cost £1m.

It involves widening the York Road/Elwick Road junction to create a separate lane for right-turning vehicles, to prevent them holding up the traffic.

In a further move to reduce congestion, the right-turn manoeuvre from Elwick Road north into York Road which is currently prohibited will also be reinstated with the creation of a designated right-turn lane.

Lay-bys will be created for the southbound bus stops on the section of York Road between Elwick Road and the Burn Valley roundabout to prevent the traffic delays being caused at present.

And the road surface and footpaths on the section of York Road between Lister Street and the Burn Valley roundabout will be renewed and additional parking lay-bys with limited waiting will be provided for local businesses.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We would apologise once again for any inconvenience which may be caused while this work is being carried out but once completed, these improvements will help to considerably reduce traffic congestion along York Road as well as creating better parking facilities for local businesses.

“Temporarily closing the section of York Road is necessary as it allows the work to be carried out several weeks quicker than if we had tried to keep the road open using temporary traffic controls.

“While the work is ongoing, pedestrian access is being maintained along York Road, as is access to all businesses in the area

“We publicised the project in advance in the local media and we would ask people once again to please bear with us while the work is being carried out.”