PEACE has returned to a Saddleworth community after weeks of confusion and frustration caused by a major resurfacing works.
The project unwittingly brought chaos to Delph as villagers claimed, in some cases, signs indicating road closures lead to people ignoring the village.
Traffic entering the village from Huddersfield Road was met by signs indicating the road would be shut for two weeks between 9.30am until 3.30pm.
But motorists and villagers claimed road signs were misleading and some routes avoiding the roadwork hotspots were open.
Disgruntled pub manager of the White Lion, Marie Phillips, said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare.
“There should have been a public consultation before starting the job so everyone would have known what, when and where road closures would take place.
“We had customers ringing up asking if the pub was open and others planning to cancel bookings because they didn’t think they could get to the village.
“It turned our business upside down,” she claimed. “We are a great charity fundraising pub but events were hampered by the confusion over signs.
“Some read ‘road ahead closed’ which was interpreted by travellers they couldn’t get access to the village at all.”
Other businesses on King Street – the main thoroughfare and link to the M62 motorway – said trade was down.
Cllr Rob Knotts, chair of Saddleworth Parish Council, visited Delph with a team of judges for Saddleworth in Bloom event.
“The roadworks resulted in complex routing, adding mileage and about an hour to the time taken to access the competition entries.
“Delph residents made critical commented about the lack of communication associated with the road repairs in the village.
“They appreciate that the work was needed but were not warned that road closures would take place, ” he said.
Phil Spencer , who has lived in the village for 30 years, observed: “I never I sensed the ghostly past in the village before.
“Standing in deserted King Street which has been the centre of numerous Whit Friday band nights, Rushcart days, Christmas lights switch-ons and the unforgettable throng of villagers on Millennium Eve… it’s silence and peace. Very eerie.”
Cllr Arooj Shah, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said the resurfacing work is part of the £6.2m Highways boroughwide Improvement project to improve surfaces for road users.
“Before starting the work, we informed residents by letter and put in place road closure signs,” he said.
“We also consulted with ward councillors about best times to carry out the work and with all our schemes we aim to keep disruption to a minimum.
“Work was due to finish for the weekend on Friday but contractors discovered a collapsed sewer which meant a section of the road had to be closed over the weekend so United Utilities could carry out repairs.
“This was out of our control and we hope people will understand this closure was put in place as a last resort as the road would have been unsafe for drivers to use. Signs were put in place to inform people of the closure.”