Signs controversy: Firm's apology to angry Dales town

'People power' - Controversial road sign in Summerbridge.
'People power' - Controversial road sign in Summerbridge.

Pateley Bridge business leaders are making complaints after a big utility company’s road signs accidentally gave the impression the town was closed for business.

Their fear is the whole situation of mislabelled or misplaced road signs which happened near the Flying Dutchman pub in Summerbridge may return at some point to cause further problems for the Dales.

Nidderdale Chamber of Trade chairman Keith Tordoff MBE said: “The Nidderdale Chamber of trade, who represent the business community, is extremely concerned that the signage problems may arise in the future.

“It is hard to understand in an age of computers and technology why utilities cannot get it right with their signage almost every time.

“The utilities should be penalised if they do not strictly adhere to the terms of the road closure permit.”

The two-week long saga has seen Mr Tordoff make regular phone calls to both Yorkshire Water and Morrison Utility Services after Pateley was turned into a virtual “ghost town” one weekend.

He said: “Pateley Bridge was almost like a ghost town. During what should be the busy summer holidays for businesses and in the middle of when the Nidd Art Trail is taking place,m all have been badly affected.”

A mystery person or persons eventually took the situation in hand. At first, they adapted the road signs with the words “closed at Greenhow Hill” to make clear traffic could still get to Pateley Bridge.

Then, last weekend, the signs were moved from the road and turned the other way out of view.

Mr Tordoff said: “At Summerbridge the road was physically blocked with a large sign and cones across it.

“There was nothing to say Pateley Bridge or businesses were open as usual. I made enquiries and established work was taking place at Hilltop Farm Greenhow by Yorkshire Water.”

Yesterday there were claims that the offending signs had been removed.Not so says Mr Tordoff.

He said: “A Morrison representative asked me if I was happy that the signs had been removed by them last Friday. I replied that the signs were still in place other than being turned around.

Mr Tordoff added: “They have offered to give £150 to Pateley Bridge’s In Bloom competition. It’s a nice gesture.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “We apologise for the signage issue in Pateley Bridge.

“We will work closely with our contractor to ensure this does not happen again.”

More news you may be interested in...

Dales tourist spot suffers 'ghost town' effect after road sign confusion