Some market traders in Swadlincote say they have seen a rise in the number of customers who have been heading to the town as they give Burton a wide berth due to the bridge repair works there.

It comes as market traders and businesses in Burton have already told how they have seen takings slump due to the £6.1 million repairs to St Peter's Bridge, which has seen the main route into the town closed.

They said they had seen a huge decrease in footfall around Burton as fed up motorists steer clear of the town to avoid traffic delays.

St Peter's Bridge has been closed since Tuesday, August 29 and will not reopen until the end of November. The repairs are to replace rusted bearings, which are vital to the bridge's structure. If they were not replaced, then a weight restriction would have to be imposed on the bridge.

Swadlincote High Street
Swadlincote High Street

Now Burton Mail reporter Paige Oldfield has spoken to independent traders in Swadlincote Market, which is held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays on The Delph to see if trade had altered there since the closure of the bridge.

Here's what they had to say:

Pollard's Fruit and Veg

Craig and Ben Pollard from Pollards Fruit and Veg
Craig and Ben Pollard from Pollards Fruit and Veg

Craig Pollard, who co-owns Pollard's Fruit and Veg with his brother, Ben, said they have noticed the market has been busier since the bridge closed.

He said: "Yes, we have seen a difference. There's been a lot of new faces in the town. A lot of people didn't realise that we've got a street market. We have free parking here so I think Swadlincote is generating trade from the closure of the bridge."

Ashby de La Books

Kate Barsby from Ashby De La Books
Kate Barsby from Ashby De La Books

Kate Barsby owns book store Ashby de La Books. She said she hasn't seen a difference in trade, despite people in Burton thinking shoppers are heading to Swadlincote during the bridge works.

She said: "There's been a consensus of opinion that when the bridge closed it would possibly bring a bit more trade into Swad because obviously people seem to be going that way, but to be honest, it's been quieter here.

"Why that is I have no idea, but the market's certainly not been as busy over the last few weeks."

Cafe Expresso

Jessica Cantrill is a barista at Cafe Expresso
Jessica Cantrill is a barista at Cafe Expresso

Jessica Cantrill, barista at Cafe Expresso in High Street, said she noticed the cafe had been a lot busier as soon as the bridge closed.

She said: "Obviously market days are always busier anyway, but yesterday wasn't a market day and we were really busy. To be honest I could see a change as soon as the bridge closed. Yesterday was really busy, and I think because it was pay day, everyone came to do their banking here and were then calling in."

Churchill's Traditional Sweet Shop

Karl Williams from Churchill's Traditional Sweet Shop
Karl Williams from Churchill's Traditional Sweet Shop

Karl Williams, owner of Churchill's Traditional Sweet Shop, said the store was busier during the first week of the bridge closure but then returned to normal once customers had found alternative routes.

He said: "It was busy for the first week but not really since. I think it's because people have found alternative routes now to get into Burton because I think people who want to go to Burton, will go to Burton, whatever it takes. In the first week we had a lot of customers but then it slowed down again. Today is market day and it's still very quiet.

"I don't know if people in Burton think they've gone quiet because people aren't getting to them, but I don't think Swadlincote has seen any gain from the closure at all.

"Have I seen an increase in trade? Not personally. I think if you talk to any of the businesses here, they'll say exactly the same. Last month, it was dead here. Swadlincote was dead. I could say we were really busy on Saturday, but we're always busy on Saturday, and it was pay-day weekend."

Curly Magpie

Kane Carswell, owner of Curly Magpie in High Street
Kane Carswell, owner of Curly Magpie in High Street

Jane Carswell, owner of vintage shop Curly Magpie, said she hasn't noticed a change at all.

She said: "No I don't think we have seen a change. I wouldn't say the bridge closure has made any difference to us. We get people from Burton, Ashby and Derby, but that's all the time, not since the bridge closed."

Yum Yum Sweet Co

Adam Bosworth from Yum Yum Sweet Co
Adam Bosworth from Yum Yum Sweet Co

Adam Bosworth works at the Yum Yum Sweet Co. He said he's noticed an increase in customers at the Swadlincote store as its sister shop, in Burton, has seen takings go down.

He said: "Yes, we have had an uptake in takings since the bridge closed. Only a little bit, nothing major, but there's definitely more people around.

"I would say that there was a change as soon as the bridge closed, and a lot of people that come in do comment that they're not going to Burton because of the traffic.

"It's still busy now, and we have a shop in Burton too so we've noticed that’s gone down. It's a lot quieter there. The uptake we get here, we're noticing the downturn in trade there."

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St Peter's Bridge facts

St Peter's bridge is one of the main routes for commuters travelling in and around Burton
  • Construction of St Peter's Bridge began in 1983 and was officially opened in 1985.
  • The bridge is 800 metres long.
  • Each day 24,000 vehicles pass across the bridge.
  • Along the road over St Peter's Bridge there are five structures – Pumphouse Viaduct, flood relief culverts, Stapenhill Underpass, St Peter's Bridge and St Peter's footbridge. Maintenance will be carried out on all five structures.
  • There are 80 bearings in total supporting Pumphouse Viaduct and St Peter's Bridge to allow the bridge's decks to move relative to their supports. The bridge decks were designed to move under traffic loading and also expand and contract given variations in temperature. The multiple types of bearing used have different functions to allow movement and rotation in specific directions. The sliding face of bearings includes a stainless steel polished surface and a low friction surface where movement occurs. Many of the original bearings are now worn and distorted and need replacement. The new bearings will be made from higher grade materials to reduce the need for future maintenance.
  • There are joints between the different sections of the bridge deck. These joints allow the sections of deck to move without affecting the road surfacing, preventing water leaking onto the bearings beneath. Many of the original joints now need replacing with modern equivalents.
  • Bridge decks have a waterproofing membrane beneath the road surfacing and above the concrete bridge deck. This membrane prevents surface water soaking through the concrete reinforcement and allowing rusting to develop. As a result of heavy traffic the road surface and waterproofing beneath have failed and become distorted. This scheme is the most efficient way to co-ordinate the replacement of surfacing and waterproofing.

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