It's meant to be one of the jewels of the coast, but residents say its 'utter carnage'

Business owners in a seaside town have expressed their fury after it emerged that roadworks which have blocked access to their shops could be in place for another three years. Relying on passing trade and footfall, businesses in the town of St Annes thrive during half-term breaks and holiday seasons, with people flocking to the seaside resort for a spot of sun, sea and sand.

This means independent shops, cafes and restaurants are able to thrive in the area, with the likes of Bistro, Coven Tearoom and Bakes and Cakes doing particularly well. However, for the shops on Garden Street, a side road just off the main St Annes Road West, business has been greatly effected by their new neighbour - a building site.

On the corner, the former JR Taylors building is set to transform into a spa, restaurant and rooftop bar, creating 70 jobs and triggering further investment. Since work started on the building last summer, access to Garden Street has been closed for vehicular access, and businesses say it means fewer and fewer customers are visiting.


As many who don't know the town well believe the road to be completely inaccessible, businesses such as Palace Pets and Over the Moon are feeling the effects.

Lisa Kelly is the owner of Palace Pets and says residents and business owners were only informed about the road closure days before objections were due in. After doing so, a meeting was arranged with the construction company and those affected by the works in summer last year.

The business owner says they believed their objections meant the works would only go on for 18 months and the road would re-open in February 2024, but this has not been the case. Lisa says she has now been informed that the road closure will go on until October and the works on the building may continue until 2027.

Talking about the effect on her business, Lisa said: "It's a one-way street and they've blocked the way in. We do have one other way of getting to us legally, which is through a little alleyway, because I have to admit people are driving the wrong way, it's a nightmare.

"So there's a little alleyway that you come down and then you can come in. We have big, massive lorries that are coming down it. It's carnage, it's been utter carnage. It's such a shame because it puts people off coming."

Not only are non-locals unaware of the shop's location, but residents to St Annes are getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of access and parking. Lisa added: "I'm about to turn ten on the 1st of June here and I've had to put CCTV on the front of the shop for the first time here, because I've had aggro.

"I've had people threatening to break my windows, from people who have literally just pulled up and parked in front of my shop because they couldn't park anywhere else. They've had to park in front of my shop and run off to another shop.

"Then when I've said to them, you can't park there you'll have to move, I've had threats."

Usually in these circumstances, businesses will place A-boards on the main road to inform passers-by and customers that shops are till open during works. However, the only board in place does not mention Palace Pets, nor is Lisa permitted to place one on the road herself.

"I've lost a lot of tourists, so regular people know where I am, although they've been put off," she said. "They've phoned me and said, I can't get to you so I'm just not coming to you - I've been told that quite a few times by people. So I've lost sales, an awful lot of sales."

Giving an example of losing sales, Lisa said that comparing December 2022 and 2023, she was down £1,000 after a dip in footfall and customers.

"I'm missing the holidaymakers," she explained. "They're looking down the road and all they can see is a building site they don't want to walk past and if you look down, everything looks shut."

Next door to Palace Pets is Dianne's shop, Over the Moon, which has been on Garden Street for three and a half years. A shop selling alternative and holistic health services, Dianne relies on footfall and passing trade, particularly as much of the customers in St Annes are holidaymakers and tourists.

However, since the building work started, she's noticed a 30-40% change in sales. On a weekly and sometimes, daily basis, Dianne gets told by customers they aren't able to find her shop due to the road closed and appearing inaccessible.

She said: "I've been told someone was coming to see me and they had been looking for me for 15 minutes, because for some reason they thought you can't get down here. I had a friend who was coming to see me and she had been to the shop before.

"She walked up the main street with Google Maps on her phone and she couldn't find Garden Street and I think that was because the signage on the building is either gone or obscured.

"So she actually walked up to one of the coffee shops and actually went in and asked them if they knew where Garden Street was."

Dianne said she couldn't even access the shop herself a few weeks ago, saying: "There was a big lorry that wanted to back down here, a double-sized construction vehicle. I didn't know that was what he was trying to do, but I wasn't able to drive down the street the wrong way.

"So I drove all the way down to Aldi, up the alleyway and they had blocked the alleyway off, so I couldn't even drive down there. So then I had to drive back down the alleyway, all the way around the block and park and walk up."

"We will continue to work with the local businesses'

A spokesperson from Fylde Council said: "The work taking place at the former JR Taylor building is being performed by a contractor on behalf of a private developer. The road closures have been organised between this contractor and Lancashire County Council, who as the upper tier authority hold responsibility for highways in the borough.

"Fylde Council have no direct involvement in the development, but have worked to facilitate consultation and communication between local businesses, the contractor, and LCC to help mitigate potential disruption. More broadly, we operate a Shop Local scheme and work with the St Annes Enterprise Partnership to help support local businesses through events and promotions. We are supportive of the economic benefits the development of this property will bring to St Annes, much as we are proud of our existing businesses."

PJM Construction said: "A TTRO application was made through Lancashire County Council. This involves a 12-week consultation process where LCC make stakeholders aware of the proposed closure and give them a chance to comment and/or object.

"Furthermore, during this consultation period we held a meeting at Masonic Hall where we gave anyone who had concerns about the project a chance to share their thoughts and have an input on the closure. Following that meeting, we made some alterations to the closure based on the comments from the local businesses which they were happy with, so the closure was permitted.

"Later into the project, Masonic Hall requested that some signs be displayed around the closure to let people know that businesses were still open as usual. We obliged with this request, with us installing multiple signs around the closure as well as us putting a post on our company LinkedIn letting everyone know the situation and that businesses are open as usual.

"We communicated to local businesses that we could offer support via these signs as well as our social media platform if they shared any flyers or promotional information via our email, given out at both meetings. The businesses on these signs are the only ones who have requested to be on them, should others wish to be added to the signs then we would be happy to do so.

"We will continue to work with the local businesses alongside the local authority for the full duration of the project."

LancsLive has also contacted Lancashire County Council.