BUSINESSES have celebrated the reopening of Soot Hill.

The road in Northwich has been shut for almost two years following a landslide in December 2021.

On Friday (October 27) it finally reopened and whilst the businesses in the area are pleased they have questioned why it took so long.

Richard Skelton, shop manager at A and E Leisure, said: “We are really relieved that the road has now been fixed.

“To be entirely honest we are surprised that it took the council such a long time to fix it.

“Especially as last year as well there were road works heading up towards the M56 as well.

“We had hundreds of phone calls from people asking how to get through the road blockage, so inevitably there will have been people that didn't bother meaning we will have lost business.

“We will never know how much, but at A and E Leisure we are delighted it is opening back up.”

Northwich Guardian: Soot Hill was closed from December 28, 2021, to October 27, 2023Soot Hill was closed from December 28, 2021, to October 27, 2023 (Image: Newsquest)

Perhaps no business was more affected by the landslip than Barnyard Pet and Equestrian Supplies.

Staff arrived at the premises on Cosgrove Business Park on December 28, 2021, to find water and mud in their warehouse, with the landslide having caused structural damage to the property.

Fortunately, they were able to reopen but were blighted by the road closure and still haven’t been able to repair the building.

Laura Edgeley, one of the owners, said: “As an independent retail business directly impacted by the landslide it has been an incredibly difficult 22 months since the collapse of Soot Hill and we are of course delighted that the road is now back open and that customers, new and old can get to us more easily.  

“The contractors on site carrying out the construction work have been respectful and worked hard throughout.

“The lack of passing trade has had a big effect on our business but we are very grateful to everyone that has continued to support us. 

“We hope now that the site has been released that the damage to our building caused by the direct hit of the landslide will be rectified in a timely and proactive manner to ensure that the ongoing effect of the incident is minimised.”

Matthew Broadhurst, director at Aquascaping Company, added: “I actually didn’t notice much of a difference to be honest, but it will most probably now give my customers a better first impression of the business.”

The council has said that due to the 'complexity' of the rebuild, multiple agencies were required.

Various surveys and investigations took place before 'substantial funding' was sought along with 'necessary council approvals'.

Once contractors were appointed, further surveys had to be completed along with safety measures put in place before construction could begin in March.

Work was then completed in October, ahead of the estimated December completion date.

However, work on street lighting is scheduled for the beginning of December.