WORK to re-pave Alcester Street scheduled to finish by mid-August now won’t be completed until just before Christmas.
The news, from Worcestershire County Council, has left local business owners resigned to another six weeks of disruption as the work, designed to enhance the town centre, drags on.
Maxine Friend from The Sportsman pub in Peakman Street – which is all but shuttered off with mesh fencing around a hole in the ground – said business had plummeted.
“It’s been a complete nightmare for us – no one wants to come in with the noise, tractors and dust. We’ve spoken to the builders and they say it’s because of the pipe work and cabling but we are fuming, absolutely livid.”
Further down Alcester Street the news was greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and the acceptance that the work will not be over until it’s over.
“It’s annoying that it’s taken so long, and initially it was very disruptive but it’s okay now,” said Mat Mathanknana from the paper shop.
His comments were echoed by Karen Britton, the manager of the Primrose Hospice shop next door: “It was worse when it was literally outside our front door but we’ve really got to just get on with it.”
Chris Royston from Lamberts Estate Agents agreed: “These things have to be done. It has been a nuisance but it’s business as usual.”
The re-paving project is costing £880,000, paid for by the county council and Redditch Borough Council.
The work includes a new one-way system in Alcester Street for authorised vehicles in the pedestrian zone.
A spokesman for Redditch Town Centre Partnership said: “While this is disappointing the county council has worked closely with us and the borough council to ensure this won’t affect our Christmas celebrations and lights switch on at the end of November.
“We’re supportive of this project which we hope is the start of a phased improvements scheme that will help revitalise our town centre.”
Jon Fraser from Worcestershire County Council’s Highway Team, said: “The pavement improvement works have unfortunately been delayed by the discovery of a number of services (such as phone lines and water pipes) being much closer to the surface than would normally be expected.
“Provided we do not encounter any further similar problems, we plan to finish the work by Christmas.”