LETTER: Businesses hit by gridlock
I have been advised to contact you as I wanted to bring to the press's attention that whilst the Chichester Observer covered the traffic chaos caused by the Festival of Speed last week, it was only from the perspective of the inconvenience caused to local residents; the seriously negative impact on local business too was not covered.
We lost revenue to the value of thousands of pounds due to clients being unable to reach us, staff couldn’t get to us either which created a welfare issue with 50 plus horses to care for, and nor could we get horses out to competitions that they had qualified for, which was seriously disappointing – and this all went on for three solid days (Friday to Sunday inclusive).
Goodwood have just provided us with a placatory email, none of the authorities (police, West Sussex CC highways, CDC planning) will take any responsibility for preventing this happening again. Our greatest fear is not just the loss of revenue but of what happened during the Festival becoming the norm, especially after the similar disruption that was caused at the Goodwood November 2015 event, when lessons did not seem to have been learned from this complete and extensive highway obstruction.
The reasons Goodwood gave for the traffic chaos caused by both events could have been prevented and if they don’t learn from these mistakes then they will be repeated. The November meeting was due to the misinformation provided in their advertising campaign, the Festival reasons are due to rain – heavy rainfall is not abnormal during June – and a road traffic accident close to one of their gates – more traffic heightens the risk of RTAs, so both of these incidents were calculated risks that should have been included in their traffic management plan.
There must be plenty of other local businesses like our own that were seriously impacted but our voice is not being heard, is it possible you could help? We recognise Goodwood’s remarkable achievements with these growing and now internationally recognised events and we understand that there is going to be closed roads and traffic delays because of this, but a whole network of local roads blocked for hours every day forcing smaller local businesses to be shut down for the duration, cannot be deemed acceptable.
Lucy Thomson (Mrs)
Lavant House Stables