A golf centre boss says visitor numbers have dropped by 60% because of a road closure outside the business and diversion signs that “don’t go anywhere.”
Michael Humphries from Manston Golf Centre and Rascal Bay miniature golf course, says road closures – which had been one way but are now both ways- have resulted in a lengthy 25 minute detour which isn’t signed for the entire route, meaning visitors are unable to find their way to the business.
There are ‘open for access’ signs for the golf site but these are placed after motorists see the road closed signage, meaning they are useless.
The road closure is due to works being carried out to the existing Manston Road/Haine Road roundabout include new road widening, kerbing, footways, surface water drainage, signage and carriageway surfacing. It is connected to a number of housing developments taking place on fields along both roads.
Developments in the area include Spitfire Green, Manston Green and Barratt David Wilson Homes, totalling hundreds of new properties.
Michael, who says he will put out his own signs to let visitors know they can access the golf centre, said: “Frustratingly the diversion that is in place takes you from the main roundabout at the top of Manston hill (opposite the golf centre) back towards Westwood Cross, then back round the roundabout towards the golf centre before sending you off left towards the Manston Tesco. After this the signs stop.
“I’ve been told by KCC the actual diversion should be B2050 Manston Road, B2050 Manston Road East, B2190 Spitfire Way, B2190 un-named road from Minster Road to Columbus Avenue, B2190 Minster Road, A299 Hengist Way, Lord of the Manor Roundabout, A256 Canterbury Road East, A256 Haine Road.
“Basically it appears to go out through St Lawrence, Pegwell, Lord of Manor, Minster roundabout and back towards Manston – a 25 minute detour from being a couple of hundred yards from us. There’s no signage in place to show the diversion
“There are a couple of access for golf centre signs but these are after three signs saying the road is closed.”
Michael says he has asked for signs letting people know the golf centre is open but was told that business open as usual signs were not requested as part of the conditions for the works and signs cannot be customised to specify the golf centre is open, as “this is considered advertising.”
The full road closure is expected to be in place until September 19.
Michael said: “Obviously this takes in all the summer holidays – our busiest time to see us through the winter.
“I’m sure some locals and regular customers will find us but tourists will have no chance and we have lots of tourists visit us to use Rascal Bay and our Toptracer range
“Everybody is very sympathetic but the bottom line is at the busiest time of the year our customers can’t get to us.”
Walker Construction is carrying out the works for developments which have been approved by Thanet council.
Diversions and road closures are put in place to ensure safety while the work is carried out.
A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson the authority has arranged for an inspector to visit the site to check the diversion is correctly signed and make sure business open notices are requested.
They said: “The roadworks at the junction of Manston Road and Haine Road are to enable road improvements by Walker Construction as part of a new development approved by the local planning authority.
“A temporary one-way system was implemented to minimise disruption as far as possible, but this has recently had to be increased to a full road closure, in the interests of safety, after motorists were ignoring closure signs.
“We have arranged for an inspector to visit the site to ensure the diversion route is signed correctly and ‘business open as usual’ signs have been requested. We will continue to work with the developer to ensure this remains so.”
A letter from Walker Construction to affected residents and businesses says: “Following this installation of road closure traffic management we have had to take the unfortunate decision to implement a full road closure at this location due to the disregard of safety signage and barriers controlling the one-way road closure by some road users.
“The change to a full road closure at this location is for the safety and protection of all road users, as well as the staff actively engaged in constructing the works at this location.
“With the full road closure in place, we have now increased our labour and plant resource to complete the works as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The alternate route for diversion has been appropriately signed.”