Lancing couple forced to close business for three months due to roadworks

W37912H12 Chris Ansell at the Lancing Snack Bar
W37912H12 Chris Ansell at the Lancing Snack Bar

A LANCING couple fear for the future of their business after being told they will have to close it for more than three months due to roadworks.

Shortly after a 14-week programme of drainage roadworks starts on the A27 on Monday (September 17), Chris and Linda Ansell will have to close the Lancing Snack Bar until early next year.

The business is based in the Withy Patch lay-by on the westbound carriageway which is being closed to public access from October 1.

The couple say it will have a devastating effect on their finances, and fear all their hard work in building up their business over the past eight years will be undone.

Chris, 50, from Coombes, said: “Everybody’s moaning about how the roadworks will inconvenience them, because they’ll get held up, but perhaps people should think themselves lucky because I’m going to lose my livelihood.

“We’ve worked for eight years to build this business up, and we’re really concerned people will think we’ve closed down. When we’ve told customers they think it’s outrageous.”

Staff from the Highways Agency and contractors Balfour Beatty held a public exhibition earlier this month explaining why the work needed to be done.

It will result in the closure of one lane on both sides of the road for much of the work, between Dankton Lane, Sompting, and the fly-over, to allow defective pipes to be replaced.

But despite this information being known, Chris said he has not received proper notification from either agency. Instead, he said, he has had emails including general information about the work.

And because he does not pay any rates to be there (he only has to obtain a licence from Adur and Worthing Council) he said he can make no claim for compensation.

Chris said: “I’m on my own, basically. I knew that could happen from the beginning and that at any time they could change it, but it’s still a shock.

“I haven’t got a choice but to try to find work until I can open again, because nobody can be without an income for that long, but that’s not going to be easy because there’s no jobs out there.

“I understand why they have to do it, but it’s still very worrying.”

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: “While improvements are carried out to the drainage system on the A27 we need to temporarily close all the lay-bys in the area for safety reasons.

“We have looked at whether we can keep all or part of the lay-bys open, however, they need to be used for storage and movement of large machinery, which cannot be safely accommodated with the lay-bys in use.

“We have been in contact with the owners of this outlet, along with local businesses, residents and road users about the temporary closures, which we appreciate will cause some inconvenience. However, we wish to assure all that we have worked hard to keep disruption to a minimum.”