Ripon Market Place 'open for business' after roadwork nightmare

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, right, and County Councillor Bernard Bateman, member for Ripon North, inspect the newly opened blockwork.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, right, and County Councillor Bernard Bateman, member for Ripon North, inspect the newly opened blockwork.

Ripon Market Place is now ‘back open for business’ after the roadworks blighting the city were completed ahead of schedule.

Ripon Market Place is now ‘back open for business’ after the roadworks blighting the city were completed ahead of schedule.

Start of roadworks in Ripon (s)

Start of roadworks in Ripon (s)

North Yorkshire County Council began repairing the blockwork carriageway along Queen Street from the junction with Moss Arcade to junction with Kirkgate in September.

The scheme was due to last eight weeks, however Queen Street reopened on Wednesday, November 4, one week ahead of schedule.

Coun Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways said the County Council made ‘every effort’ to ensure the public knew businesses in the area were open as usual.

He said: “We would like to thank all the businesses and traders in the area, as well as the residents of Ripon, for their patience while this work was carried out.

“This was a substantial piece of work, which was necessary because investigations showed that the sub-structure below the blocks was failing.

“We can assure residents and business owners that this repair should provide a long-term solution to these failing setts.”

During the first week of roadworks, businesses in the city centre reported a drop in footfall of up to 70 per cent and a lack of parking spaces available to visitors.

Stephen Craggs, owner of G. Craggs on Moss Arcade, said he was pleased that the roadworks had been completed ahead of schedule but admitted they had left a telling impact on businesses.

He said: “It’s been pretty monumental. People have not got used to the changes and seem to have stayed away from the town centre. The first week was the worst but the average footfall has been down 30 per cent.

“Other businesses have had the same problem and the same feeling. We’ve all said that we will be glad when they’re gone.

“The last two weeks have been particularly frustrating because the contractors had done a sterling job and got on with the improvement and seemed to be finished.

“That was ten days ago and we expected maybe the road would open two weeks prior to the stated finishing time but it seems they were waiting for the county council’s white liners.

“There has been inactivity for a while which has been very frustrating. It’s great it’s ahead of schedule but it seems it could have been a week earlier.”

Despite the annoyances surrounding the roadworks, many Ripon residents have been pleased with the finished visual appearance of the Market Place.

However, while Mr Craggs has also praised the finished product, he said he was fearful contractors would return to improve the West side of the Market Place.

He said: “The market place is looking good and it’s definitely an improvement so hopefully that’s it for another 15 years.

“The only problem is it makes the other side look worse and we are worried they will find money to do that side next.

“The businesses can’t be put through that against because we simply can’t afford it.”