BUSINESS owners in Honiton have been left frustrated after roadworks resulted in long queues into the town centre – and a reduction in footfall.
Devon County Council are currently undertaking roadworks, to replace the traffic signals at Dowell Street and High Street.
Duncan Erskine, from Honiton Fishmongers, has said that he has spoken to regular customers who visit the shop several times a week who’ve said that they won’t be back until after the works are complete.
Mr Erskine said: “If my number of customers is X then since the roadworks started I have lost half of X. It’s been terrible.
“I understand the work needs to be done but the other day we had queuing all along New Street, up the train station, and all down the high street because of the traffic lights and pedestrian crossing; the whole of Honiton just ground to a halt.
“If this is what we have to put up with until December when the works are done, we could be facing a really disappointing Christmas period. Especially if people stay away from the town because of these works.”
Mr Erskine added that he had heard that market sellers were leaving earlier due to lack of business because of the roadworks.
Market manager and chairman of Honiton Chamber of Commerce Tony McCollum said that he wasn’t sure if that was the case, but confirmed that the traffic lights had seriously hampered businesses. However he believes this issue has now been sorted.
Mr McCollum explained: “The pedestrian crossing being just before the traffic lights seemed to be causing a few issues with timing, but I spoke to the county council and they said they were sending someone in to remedy the situation.”
A Devon County Council spokesperson said: “We are carrying out work to replace the traffic signals at the junction of High Street and Dowell Street.
“Temporary lights and lane closures are currently in place while work to replace and extend ducts underneath the road are undertaken in order to make the signals more responsive in future.
“Unfortunately the timing of the temporary lights was affected last week when someone tampered with the batteries, but we have requested that the contractor regularly monitors the lights until the permanent signals are in use again, which should be in early December.”
The county council also confirmed that the scheme will be suspended in the run up to Christmas, with works on the site resuming in January.