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Sir Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, has urged Highways England to let Hollies Poultry Farm keep their brown tourist signs.
Hollies Poultry Farm is located on the Wolverhampton Road near Laney Green and has had a brown tourist sign since the creation of the nearby dual carriageway and M6 Toll Road over twenty-two years ago. These roads made the Wolverhampton Road into a cul-de-sac and these brown tourist signs were awarded to the farm at the time as compensation following the resulting cut in customer numbers.
However, Highways England are now threatening to not replace these brown signs following their removal for roadworks related to the new M54-M6 Link Road as they state the businesses inside Hollies Poultry Farm do not meet their criteria.
The businesses – Hollies Farm Shop, Cate’s Cakes Tearoom, and Angel Voices – are deeply concerned that losing these signs will spell the beginning of the end for their shops.
Jane Griffiths, owner of Angel Voices, said: “Over twenty-two years ago, Hollies Farm Shop managed to cling on despite 50% of their business being lost when Wolverhampton Road became a cul-de-sac. While residents on the road received financial compensation from this change, Hollies Poultry Farm received these brown tourist signs as compensation and they have proved essential in driving up business ever since.
“If Highways England take away these signs, three locally owned businesses could close overnight. We are not asking for the world, just for our original compensation to be honoured and for Highways England to properly engage with our concerns.”
Sir Gavin said: “I was deeply concerned to hear about Hollies’ Poultry Farm potentially losing their brown tourist signs which provide vital exposure for these local businesses. Highways England need to do the decent thing by honouring the past awarding of these signs and promising to keep this deserved lifeline in place.”