Traders in Albert Road say custom hit by roadworks

WORKS Traders in Albert Road say their businesses have been disrupted. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122935-4695)
WORKS Traders in Albert Road say their businesses have been disrupted. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122935-4695)
Jacquie Shaw of the NMRN

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SOUTHSEA shops have complained that roadworks lasting more than a month have damaged their business.

Traders in Albert Road have criticised Southern Gas Networks for taking too long to upgrade their supply network on the of the city’s busiest shopping streets.

The company says work started in early September to replace existing metal gas mains and services between Waverley Road and Francis Avenue with new plastic pipes.

It has been working with Portsmouth City Council to complete the work and set up temporary traffic lights to avoid having to close the entire road.

But Steve Johnson, who runs Impress Dry Cleaning, said he has complained to the council about the roadworks preventing his customers from parking outside.

‘It has been messing up business for more than a month,’ he said. ‘We rely on people stopping briefly to drop stuff in.

‘Without the parking we’ve noticed a decline in customer numbers. It seems ridiculous it’s taken so long.

‘I’ve called the council because it always seems like there’s work going on out there, if it isn’t the gas company it’s someone else.’

Julie from the nearby Zensation arts, crafts and gifts shop said the work had caused problems for many of the road’s traders.

‘No-one is happy about it,’ she said. ‘If this was China they would just get 20 people out there and have it done in under a week.

‘Instead we’ve got two guys working out there most of the time. It’s definitely hit our trade – people are avoiding the area because they know the traffic will be awful and there’s nowhere to park.’

There will be a pause to the work on Friday ahead of the Great South Run to help reduce congestion. But workmen will return to the road next week and are due to complete the project by November 15.

Spokeswoman for Southern Gas Networks Hannah Brett said: ‘We appreciate that people can get frustrated by roadworks and we do apologise for any inconvenience our work may cause.

‘However, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years, which means that when this work is complete, people will continue to enjoy the benefits of a safe and reliable gas supply for years to come.’