A much loved Harrogate business woman will close her popular florist on Leeds Road, blaming years of traffic problems for the decision.
Val Jackson has owned Garden Room Flowers next to St George’s roundabout on Leeds Road for around three and half years and has now decided she will close the shop at Christmas.
Val said she is hugely disappointed but said she could not continue to buy in fresh flowers not knowing if customers would be willing to battle the traffic jams to buy from her.
She said: “I‘d say 90 per cent of the reason I am closing is the road problems, it had made everything difficult.
“Everyone goes to M&S and they can just pick up their flowers from there. In 10 to 15 years there will not be any independent florists, it will have a huge impact when they are all gone.”
Two weeks ago North Yorkshire County Council agreed a number of changes to the Leeds Road and Hookstone Road junction which they hope will ease congestion on Leeds Road.
Val added: “People are avoiding this road now, not parking to go round the shops. People who live here have said they moved to this area because of the independent shops nearby, now they are closing and there are more for sale.
“When M&S was first proposed they said they people would park there and walk up to the shops, but that isn’t happening. If there was a park and ride it would mean the road would be less busy for local traffic.”
“My shop is a community shop, I used to work as a nurse so I know it is more than just a shop to buy flowers, we talk to customers, they look forward to their visit, that is going to be the biggest loss.”
An M&S spokesperson said: “It would not be appropriate for M&S to comment on another business. Over the last 18 months we have been actively involved in making the Oatlands Parade more accessible and remain committed to working with local residents and customers to make a difference to the Oatlands community.”
County Coun Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways said: “Of course I am sad to see this business go but I would seriously reject any suggestion that the reason is the traffic, I do not believe it has anything to do with business failing.
“I have lived near this road for 40 years and there has always been lots of changing of the shops along this road.”
Val will continue to work as a florists, working on weddings, funeral and event bouquets from home after the shop shuts in December.
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