ROAD closure signs are having a disastrous impact on trade.
Work to improve drains along the B1022 Colchester Road in Tiptree started three weeks ago and could take another month.
Signs have been put up as far as seven miles away to warn drivers of the closure and diversions.
Businesses, including Layer Marney Tower which is three miles away from where the work is happening, say they have lost at least a fifth of customers.
Nicholas Charrington, owner of Layer Marney Tower, said: “It is a main artery between Maldon, Tiptree and Colchester and it is having an effect.
“If you come from Maldon, the road to us is closed and you have got to detour around it, which is not always easy and makes people think: ‘I shan’t bother’.
“If you come from Colchester all the signs are up saying the road is closed and people start looking elsewhere.
“As soon as the road closed, we saw a drop in numbers.
“We have lost 20 per cent or so of our day visitors.
“It has been quite disastrous.
With the bank holiday coming up, we have been quite anxious, let’s hope they finish in time.”
A few days after the roadworks started, signs went up telling drivers the venue was still open and Mr Charrington said there had been a slight improvement.
Eddie Suen, director of Maypole Chinese and Thai restaurant in Messing Road, Tiptree, said he has only had five diners on his busiest nights compared to 20 before the road closure signs went up.
He said: “My customers see the sign and have not been coming through.
“People phone me up and say they cannot get here.
“I phoned up the highways officer to make a complaint and they put up two signs in Tiptree to say it is business as usual.
“It has made a little bit of an improvement for people in Tiptree as they know my restaurant is still open.”
Mr Suen said there are signs about seven miles away at junctions in Maldon Road, Colchester, and Warren Lane, Stanway, that had put people off visiting altogether.
He said: “The flooding has been happening in the village and we know the work is necessary.
“But they didn’t need closure notices so far away.”
The road closure is between the junctions of Oak Road and Haynes Green Road and is intended to stop frequent flooding.
The diversion is: B1022 Maldon Road, Warren Lane, Stanway by-pass, B1408 London Road, A12, B1024 London Road, B1023 Inworth Road / Kelvedon Road, B1022 Maypole Road and vice versa. The work is due to finish on September 12.