LONG-RUNNING maintenance work on water mains in Lodsworth has not only caused chaos on the roads, it has also sparked a sad state of affairs for the village shop.
With diversions in place around the village, the award-winning Lodsworth Larder seems to have been forgotten by its usual customers, while the roads around it have been plunged into confusion.
On Tuesday a van had to be hauled out of a ditch dug for a new water pipe after it got stuck. The van, which blocked the road for about two hours, was finally rescued by a large pick-up truck after it proved too big for Midhurst Engineering.
Martin Lester, chairman of Lodsworth Larder village shop, said: “The no-through road system was in chaos when the lorry sank through a plastic sheet and into a ditch that had been dug to connect a new water pipe.
“The driver was very lucky not much damage had been done to his vehicle.”
However, despite a road traffic regulation order put in place by West Sussex County Council, which states ‘alternative routes for vehicles will be clearly indicated’, Mr Lester fears shoppers believe the village store is out of reach.
“The Lodsworth Larder has already suffered from the road closures for the past six weeks with sales down by some 40 per cent on last year.
“It is a real shame since shoppers could still access the shop, but the diversion signs have put many shoppers off.
“I know the pub has been experiencing similar problems.
“We want to let people know we are open for business as usual.”
The road closure, which came into effect in October 2012, has closed The Street from its junction with School Lane, southward to its junction with Gill Lane,
The order will remain in force until the work is completed, or until the 18-month limit is up.
Lodsworth Larder sells a wide variety of fresh produce, and even runs a postal service.