TRADERS breathed a sigh of relief when buses started dropping shoppers off on their doorstep yesterday (April 14) after nine weeks of disruptive roadworks.
John Roberts, of Truly Scrumptious sweet shop in Terminus Road, said independent businesses in the town centre had been brought to their knees as bus users were diverted to Gildredge Road during engineering works.
Mr Roberts, 46, said the family-run business had lost more than £100 a day during the shopping hiatus.
“All the money we thought we had made from Christmas has gone.
“It’s going to take the rest of the summer just to recover.
“All we have been doing is breaking even, if we’re lucky. All the savings have been sucked up into these last weeks,” he said.
Mr Roberts said all traders had been laid low since Southern Gas Networks had started carving up Terminus Road on February 14.
Engineers worked until Wednesday (April 13) to replace a worn out iron gas main with a durable plastic one to make it safe, costing £200,000.
A spokesperson for Southern Gas Networks said, “We stopped at the request of Eastbourne Borough Council and local traders.
“They were worried the work could affect local trade. We want to do this work with minimum disruption.”
He added that although phase one is complete, engineers will return towards the end of the summer to finish of the work.
During the work buses were diverted down Grove Road, South Street and Gildredge Road, denying shops a regular flow of customers through their doors.
Mr Roberts said, “If things would have carried on as they are, and it’s bad enough anyway, it would have added to our plight.
“It just came at a bad time and up until last week there didn’t seem a to be an end to it.”