TRADERS have voiced their anger over ongoing disruption in Waterlooville town centre.
Work on the £750,000 revamp of the northern part began a year ago by Havant Borough Council.
Although the revamp was welcomed, Portsmouth Water then began digging up the southern part of the pedestrianised area meaning barriers and diversions have been put up across the shopping centre.
The work to renew the water mains began in July and isn’t scheduled to finish until October 5.
Portsmouth Water says it deliberately chose this time to do the work so that traders and the public were not inconvenienced longer than they needed to be.
Neil Troward, owner of Clix furniture store, said: ‘It’s been being dug up now for the best part of a year.
‘It has hit trade. We get customers constantly complaining about how bad the town centre is and the traders are all up in arms about it.’
Angela Barfoot, the manager of Shoe Zone also said the work has had an impact on business.
She said: ‘It puts people off coming in to us. It’s all cordoned off and people think they can’t get in.
‘There are small signs on the barriers but a lot of people think they can’t get in and give up. This is our busiest time of year.’
She added: ‘It’s terrible.’
Councillor Ray Bastin, whose borough council Waterloo ward covers the town centre says everyone is fed up with the work. He said: ‘It’s a shame that all the work has gone on more or less at the same time and elongated the inconvenience.
‘When I walk through the town centre people know me and come up to complain about it.
‘Initially they had been looking forward to the other work finishing but as that was coming to an end the other work started.’
Neville Smith, managing director of Portsmouth Water, said the time was deliberately chosen to coincide with the work carried out by the council.
He added: ‘This is work that must be done.
‘We renew approximately 20km of mains each year to maintain our network and reduce the risk of bursts and leakage which can result in disruption of supply to customers. We consider this work essential.’
He said the site is visited regularly to check on progress and would be visited again in light of the concerns raised.