“Roadworks have turned our community into a ghost town” - say traders

Glenrothes councillor Ross Vetraino with shop owners  Jill Muir and Margaret Delmeastro at the roadworks in Thornton. (Pic George McLuskie).
Glenrothes councillor Ross Vetraino with shop owners Jill Muir and Margaret Delmeastro at the roadworks in Thornton. (Pic George McLuskie).
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Angry shopkeepers in Thornton claim long-standing road works are costing them thousands of pounds in lost takings and have turned the community into a ghost town.

Jill Muir, owner of JJ’s Take Away, said she has seen business plummet by as much as 75 per cent since contractors started digging up the road outside her property.

“I don’t know how long the losses can be sustained, I’ve bills and wages to pay, it’s a nightmare,” she explained.

“The village has been turned into a ghost town, people are avoiding the place because of the roadworks and the worry among fellow business owners is that they will simply not return.

“You could shoot as gun up the main street right now and nobody would bat an eyelid, the place is deserted.”

Her concerns were echoed by Margaret Delmaestro, owner of Toby’s chip Shop.

“The town has been hit with one set of road works after another in the last six months, the lack of passing trade is hitting us all hard.

“Often there’s nobody working on the site, we are desperate to see it finished.”

One of the hardest hit has been the local Co-op store.

“I understand that the work has to be done but it has taken longer than expected, our takings have dropped on average by about £2000 per week,” said Fiona Harley, temporary store manager.

“Lots of people are telling us how badly they have been hit. it’s a tough situation.”

Thornton has been subject to a number of improvement works in recent months, including the extension of cycle paths for Fife Council.

But it is the current work being undertaken by Livingston-based contractor Clancy Docwra, who are laying power cables from the nearby solar farm up to Redhouse roundabout on behalf of Scottish Power, that has been the final straw for traders.

Thomas Donnelly, project manager for Clancy Docwra, gave assurances that the work would be completed within the agreed time.

“We are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum and are confident that the work will be completed by the end of March as agreed,” said Mr Donnelly.

However, Glenrothes councillor Ross Vettraino was less than impressed by the situation.

“I expect to see the work being carried out during daylight hours which has not always been the case. I have asked for reassurances that the work will be completed soon, it’s the least that the people of Thornton deserve.”