BUSINESS owners in Dudley say they feel ‘left in limbo’ as they prepare for the closure of a bus terminal.

Bus routes into the town centre are set for big changes on January 14 when the terminal closes and stops are moved to Tower Street, Ednam Road and Priory Road.

Traders in Birdcage Walk fear they will lose cash because people, especially the elderly or disabled, will be reluctant to go through the town to get to their shops.

Business owners also say the council has not done enough to ensure shoppers know they are still open for business while the terminal is closed and work to install tram lines continues.

Sam Whibley, owner of Nanny Edna’s Hot Pork Cob Shop, said: “What happens when we are cut off from everybody, there is no signage to say we are open as usual, we have been left in limbo.

“The bus station closing is a massive hindrance to the elderly, they are not going to come into town to this side of the precinct.”

Mick Butler, who owns the Pet Pantry, said: “We are sceptical about the lack of footfall, gaining new customers is going to be quite difficult and the ones we have, pensioners especially, aren’t going to be able to get to us as easily.”

Mr Butler added traders have been fighting for more publicity to say they are still trading and that there is still access where fences have gone up around construction sites.

He said: “The council could make it a lot better for the shopping centre, we pay rates but we are still getting nothing.

“Nothing has been done, not even an arrow saying go this way, it’s just topsy turvy at the moment. We have been let down in a big way.

“We have been going to all the meetings, and asking for extra meetings, but I don’t know why they haven’t, perhaps it’s to show they are willing – but not really.”

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “The new interchange is a major project in our plans to regenerate Dudley town centre.

“It will be a central hub for public transport, improving connectivity and making it easier for people to travel in and out of the town.

“This is a major project and so there will inevitably be some short term disruption while the station is closed, and bus stops moved to other locations.

“We understand the concerns of traders around the bus station, particularly in the Birdcage Walk area and we will continue to work closely with them throughout the project.

“We have been reassured by Transport for West Midlands, who is leading this project, that the shops will be fully accessible for all, and signage will be put in place to remind visitors that businesses are open as usual.”

Back at Nanny Edna’s, Sam Whibley believes the council could learn lessons from how things are done in Birmingham.

She said: “It is not rocket science, they need to promote us more and put something up to tell people that we are still here.

“Look at Birmingham, why can’t we have boards up with pictures and signs to make it look a bit better – not metal railings? We need it to not look like a demolition site.”

Despite the challenges, Ms Whibley is determined to get through whatever the future holds.

She said: “You have got to stay positive, we survived Covid and the cost of living crisis, it is going to be tough but we will keep going and do what we can.”