‘Come and shop in Sidley’, say traders

Jay Carroll with Cllr Michael Ensor
Jay Carroll with Cllr Michael Ensor

Businesses in Sidley are encouraging shoppers to return after suffering poor trade due to the building of the Link Road.

Traders said many people have avoided visiting the village since the old Ninfield Road bridge was demolished in October last year as part of the construction work.

The bridge was too narrow and low for the road to pass underneath so a new one had to be built.

Traders in the village this week issued a loud cry, saying they are open for business.

Jay Carroll, of Carroll’s Greengrocers, said: “It’s not been very easy for us and the closure of the bridge for almost a year definitely affected trade.

“People on the other side of the bridge have not come across to the village as a result and avoided it to bypass congestion.

“Other traders have had days when it’s been soul-destroying.

“But on the positive side we are open and ready to go. As far as I’m aware Sidley has the only free car park in Rother as well and we’d like to see it full up with shoppers.

“Now that the bridge has reopened the trade will start to pick up.”

Patrick Rowland, who owns The Carpet Shop in Ninfield Road, said 90 per cent of his trade came from customers he knew but he stressed he was open for business as usual, encouraging shoppers to return to Sidley.

Keith Monk, joint owner of Sidley Village Butchers, said: “We did suffer when the bridge was shut and it dropped quite dramatically.

“It wasn’t just that that affected us, it was also the lead-up with the roadworks and congestion.

“People were not coming anywhere near Sidley. But things are now on the move and if anyone wants a nice turkey for Christmas, this is the place to come.”

Ninfield Road bridge opened with one lane open only on August 17 and was fully open with both lanes operational on August 28.

Councillor Michael Ensor, county councillor for Bexhill King Offa ward, said: “The shops in Sidley have felt very hard done by over the last year because of the bridge being knocked down.

“Sidley was, in many ways, cut off from the rest of the world.

“Even though there was a diversion in place encouraging people to go through Sidley a lot didn’t.

“Businesses have spoken to me about what could be done to attract more trade, such as putting up notices in strategic places around Bexhill .

“I want to see Sidley as a thriving community.

“There are lots of things that can achieve this and one is having a thriving shopping centre.”

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