Part of Eastbourne’s town centre improvement works have been delayed amid concerns from one family run business that says it is losing thousands of pounds in trade due to roadworks.
Eastbourne and East Sussex councils are behind the multi-million scheme and have admitted the section by Bankers Corner needs redesigning after contractors discovered a number of cables and ducts that were not where utility companies had indicated.
A county council spokesperson said engineers had to review the road design and while the section of the scheme is being reviewed, workers were being redeployed to work in other areas of the town centre.
The news comes as bosses at Closs & Hamblin in Terminus Road raised concerns over the barricades between the store and the Beacon entrance and a make-shift car park for contractors blocking the way for potential customers.
Bryan Hamblin said, “We have been severely hurt by the works and since November 1 lost more than £60,000 in turnover and need these barricades to go as soon as possible. Workers are now using the ‘sacred’ pathway from the Beacon entrance to our store as a convenient car park. This area could have been left open for the last 12 weeks and caused us the loss of far fewer customers. We have been trading in Eastbourne since 1961: the councils are chasing us out.“
Mr Hamblin said he heard the delays could be eight weeks.
The council spokesperson said sub-contractors parking within the confines of the construction site would now be kept to a minimum and added, “Unfortunately the railings in front of the store have to stay in place as the road is being used as a temporary bus lane and part of the site has been partially excavated in preparation for paving to be laid.”
The county council said it, along with Eastbourne Borough Council and with funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, are all making a significant investment in Eastbourne town centre to “transform and modernise the area, attract more visitors to the town, improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce congestion”.
The spokesperson added, “Disruption is inevitable with a scheme of this size, which is running alongside the major redevelopment of the Beacon Centre, but we are doing everything we can to minimise this. By working on a number sites across the town centre, we have significantly reduced the amount of time the scheme will take to complete.
“While we try to communicate details of the scheme as work progresses, we appreciate there will be questions and concerns and are happy to discuss these directly with traders.”