Business owners in Epsom has been left devastated after being forced to close their award-winning crafts shop.

Lyn French and Gill Catcheside alongside a third owner had to shut The Stitch Mouse, on South Street, after seeing a drastic decrease in footfall and profits, following roadworks outside their store.

Lyn believes the downturn was mainly the result of the roadworks as well as the closure of traffic lights, making it difficult for customers to cross the three lane one-way road.

The roadworks are part of the Epsom 'Plan E' Highway Improvements, following the council being awarded £2.7m from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to change the road layout in Epsom to help reduce congestion and improve the town centre's appearance.

In January 2018, the work moved outside the shop, which was awarded Best New Business at the Epsom & Ewell Business Awards in 2016, but the Lyn believes the final nail in the coffin came in May 2018, when the traffic lights at the Albion junction were closed.

Lyn contacted Surrey Highways initially on Tuesday, May 22 and requested a temporary pedestrian crossing but Surrey County Council have said it is not possible to provide a pedestrian crossing during the rebuild of traffic islands at this location.

The council report on their website “it’s difficult to accommodate the alternative crossing because a straight crossing is needed over three lanes of traffic, there’s not enough pavement space to place equipment without blocking the pavement, the bend in the road which makes any temporary crossings unsafe and the queuing traffic on the road could block the temporary crossing, making it unsafe.”

Lyn say they invested most of their money into the business which opened in May 2016, which Lyn says was ‘their dream’.

She said: “It has been devastating. It was a dream to provide a community craft club for Epsom. I invested money, time, passion and enthusiasm into creating this business.”

As well as craft materials, the business undertook charity work, with customers knitting blankets to donate to St Helier Hospital and Epsom Hospital and internationally including a baby centre in Gambia.

More than a hundred people have commented on the closure through social media, with one Facebook user saying: “So sorry to hear this. Despite driving past and wandering round town I have been unable to work out how to safely cross over to your side with a buggy for several weeks now. You have all been so lovely and helpful whenever I've been in. I hope even better opportunities open up for you soon.”

The store closed on Saturday, June 23 and Lyn says there were no plans to open another shop but she will be carrying on with the charity work. Please send an email to if you have knitting/crocheting squares for blankets, knitted items or wool to donate.

Surrey County Council did not comment.