Christmas is coming - but not shoppers

Emma Brown outside her sub-post office
Emma Brown outside her sub-post office
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Village postmistress Emma Brown fears major roadworks are threatening her business at the busiest time of the year.

Thousands of pounds worth of Christmas stock lies untouched on the shelves at the Cottam sub-Post Office near Preston after a dramatic fall-off in trade.

And Emma declared: “If this lasts much longer it is going to cripple us.”

Work has been going on for the past month to lay utilities to a new housing development. But contractors were forced to shut the road altogether after a workman was almost hit by a wagon. Emma claims passing trade has all-but vanished and even some locals are reluctantly keeping their distance because they face a lengthy detour.

“It was bad enough when we had temporary traffic lights, but at least we had some calling in,” she said. “But after an incident with a workman and a truck the contractors have been forced to close the road altogether. So we are getting hardly anyone visiting us.

“The locals are fabulous, very loyal and very supportive. But some of them have to travel a mile or more to get round and you aren’t going to do that just for a stamp.

“Now the road is closed the work seems to be going on much quicker. But we’re worried we could be left with a lot of Christmas stock on our hands. Four weeks of chaos could cost us thousands.”

Emma and husband Dave have invested heavily in cards, gifts and jewellery in anticipation of a festive rush. But with trade down by at least a half, they estimate they stand to lose around £5,000 to £6,000 if business doesn’t pick up.

Energetics Design and Build, who are putting in mains electricity and water, have written to locals apologising for the disruption.

“Due to the serious nature of the near miss, we have had no other option than to continue further works under a full road closure,” said the company. “We have tried to maintain a two way traffic flow. However due to the un-cooperative nature of some HGV drivers, we have had to take steps to ensure that our teams on site have a safe working environment.”