Road signs driving business away from Yarrow valley, claim cafe and hotel owners

A708 road closure sign at Selkirk.
A708 road closure sign at Selkirk.

Irate business owners in the Yarrow valley say misleading road signs are costing them dear this week.

Works to install a fibre optic broadband mast means the A708 is closed fully between Grey Mare’s Tail and Moffat for 10 days from today.

But road closure signs across the region are effectively closing off the valleys from all sides.

“The whole valley is covered with these signs saying the road ahead is closed,” Susan Cree, owner of the Gordon Arms Hotel at St Mary’s Loch said.

“That’s just not the case. You can still get to St Mary’s Loch from all sides except Moffat.

“But it’s putting people off coming.

“We’ve already had guests cancelling or calling in a panic about how to get here.

“We’ve had others cancel meals because they think the road is shut.

“I am so annoyed about it.

“We got no notice and the first we knew about the 10-day closure was when we spotted the signs on Thursday.

“I would be most interested to see if they area actually even working on the road as I doubt they’re going to put a mast in the middle of the road.”
The confusion has also had a knock-on effect on Jane Burns, now in her second year of running The Glen cafe at the loch.

She told us yesterday: “We should be really busy this week. The sun is shining and it’s the start of the holidays.

I know by the amount of customers I had this morning that we are nowhere near as busy compared to this time last year.

“I had to cancel two of my staff.

“The phone has never stopped ringing with people checking whether they can still reach us.

“People have been doing the same with the Gordon Arms and the camp site at Tibbieshiels too.

“This should be a very busy weekend ahead for us.

“It’s very worrying.”

Both ladies have been assured corrected signage will be put in place as soon as possible.

A spokesman for Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “A meeting has taken place with the contractor for the works on the A708.

“Following this meeting, new signage is being placed on the route by the contractor as a matter of urgency.

“The new signage will reflect the time that the closure is in place and the exact location of the closure.”