Yarrow Valley traders seeking payouts for losses due to road closure

The A708 road closure sign at Selkirk.The A708 road closure sign at Selkirk.
The A708 road closure sign at Selkirk.
Business owners claiming to have been hit by a downturn in trade due to road closures in the Yarrow Valley could be in line for compensation.

It’s claimed poorly managed road closure signs warning of broadband works around the A708 between Grey Mare’s Tail and Moffat drove customers away from businesses at St Mary’s Loch last week.

And following complaints to Borders MP John Lamont, calls are going out for compensation to be offered to those businesses affected.

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Mr Lamont said: “This road closure seems to have been really badly managed by BT Openreach and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

“A number of people have got in touch with me about this, either during the closures last week or at my advice surgeries. It has clearly impacted on a number of businesses and been confusing for motorists too.

“Businesses didn’t get sufficient notice, motorists faced confusing signs which didn’t make it clear that the Yarrow Valley was open for businesses.

“Despite the closure being removed over the weekend, many signs remained in place.

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Hotels, cafes and other businesses along the Yarrow Valley rely on through traffic and passing trade. That is why I think there is a strong case for compensation for those who have lost out from this.”

Mr Lamont has written to Dumfries and Galloway Council to push for compensation for those businesses affected.

The A708 Gray Mare’s Tail to Moffat road was closed on July 1, for BT Openreach works but signs across the region diverted motorists away from the Yarrow Valley entirely.

When this was pointed out to Dumfries and Galloway Council, BT Openreach and their contractors were told to amend the signs.

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Last Friday, the road was reopened earlier than planned, but the closure signs were mistakenly left in place over the weekend.

Gordon Arms Hotel owner Susan Cree added: “The road has been closed at the start of the school holidays. This is one of the busiest weekends for ourselves and we stand to lose substantial business. We have had no notification about this closure, if we had then we could have taken some action earlier.

“The signage is very poorly worded all over the valley. It was disappointing to see over the weekend that the electronic mobile signs saying A708 closed ahead where still up in Moffat. In fact it is an absolute disgrace.”