TRADERS in Droitwich town centre have been reassured that ongoing revamp work on the High Street will be completed by the end of this month, with the busy festive period fast approaching.

Severn Trent Water (STW) completed infrastructure work in June before Worcestershire County Council (WCC) began its £650,000-improvement work which was initially expected to keep the road closed until mid-October.

But with the work still not finished, Cllr Ken Pollock, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, has said contractors are on schedule to complete the scheme by December.

Craig Bohannan, owner of Droitwich Cobblers, described the Christmas shopping season as “massive” for many of the independent traders on the high street.

Mr Bohannan said: “Footfall is definitely still down, there’s not too many people about anymore. We’re just hoping things will pick up after everything’s done, which I’m told is the end of the month. I think through December everyone will be hoping to make up for any losses, and pull things back.”

Tom Lymer, owner of Lymers butchers, agreed that footfall had significantly dropped while the roadworks have gone on, and said he hoped “all my old customers come back” from next month.

Mr Lymer, who has run the butchers in its current premises for 48 years, admitted he didn’t “know how [the new layout] will affect trade yet”.

“The works have been an inconvenience and I welcome them all finishing, because it’s been a long time.”

Computer store Compcycle Ltd closed down in July, blaming the works as well as the current economic climate.

Sue Allen, who runs flower shop Flowers of Elegance, was happy to hear the road was nearing completion but has been left exhausted by the ongoing works.

“I’m just relieved more than anything because it has been pretty bad for us,” she said. “We’ve probably lost about half of our trade and we just hope that people come back and support us. I guess the work did need doing but I can’t see why it has taken so long.”

The county council is jointly funding the work with Wychavon District Council (WDC), which has seen the uneven road and pavement surfaces improved and a raised pedestrian crossing point installed.

Cllr Pollock said: “Improving the High Street was identified as a top priority by people responding to a public consultation exercise and we are now delivering that vision along with our partners, WDC and STW.”

“We listened to businesses who were keen for us to retain vehicular access along the High Street in the new scheme and to shoppers who asked us to improve access for pedestrians and less mobile users.

“We resurfaced the carriageway last month and we are now installing blockwork at either end of the High Street to create a gateway feature in line with the consultation exercise.

David Webb, landlord of the Star and Garter pub, said in August he was ‘hanging on by the skin of his teeth’ and feared his pub may close down because of the roadworks.