Local businesses voice concerns over roadworks that will last six months

Local businesses have raised concerns over roadworks that will take place for the next six months on a popular road in East Devon.

Exeter Road, Exmouth, is to undergo major gas replacement works over the coming months, with work due to start in early January. But local shops have concerns about the affect it will have on them.

Utility firm Wales & West Utilities are to spend £175,000 on replacing gas pipes on the road, with work commencing on Wednesday, January 4. The the road, which accommodates dozens of shops, is to be closed to have restricted access, including buses, which will not be running through the street.

Mo McWilliams, from fancy dress shop Carnival House says it will be a pain, and the work will have an impact on the business.

She said: "We get lots of people who come in using the buses which won't be running while the works are going on. So it will affect us, definitely.

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"I just don't understand why it's going to take so long. It's going to be a pain for sure."

The work will be split into several phases across Exeter Road, which some businesses say it makes it more bearable.

Christopher from furniture shop Sign of the Times, says he is slightly concerned about the roadworks, but says they will have to wait and see what impact it has.

"I'm sure everyone around the area is concerned about it. Six months is a long time for these works, but at least it won't be at one place all the time. We'll have to wait and see what impact it has.

"I'm trying to stay positive."

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Sarah Hurst, from Liberty Craft says it will have a big impact on her business, and it is not the first time that work has taken place outside the business.

"I've been here for three years now, and three times roadworks have taken place here.

"The type of business that we are attracts a lot of elderly and disabled people, which will make it difficult for them to come with restricted access.

"Last time there were roadworks, there was a van with a generator outside which made the noise even worse.

"But if the works need doing, then there's not much that we can do. At least it will be done in phases.

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Speaking about the roadworks, Wales & West Utilities Programme Controller for the South West, Jim Lee, said:

"This essential work is complex and last month we invited local people to find out more about the plans and how the work will impact them.

"We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to support the area into the future. Replacing old metal gas pipes can be challenging and depending on what we find when we start work, our plans may need to change.

"We will make sure local people are kept updated of our progress.

"We would like to thank local people in advance for their understanding while we do this essential work."

The work will involve replacing 760 metres of old metal gas pipes with new plastic ones.

A diversion route has been setup, where traffic will instead be taken along Marine Way. The route will be via Exeter Road - Marine Way (A376) - Imperial Road - Parade – Exeter Road & vice versa.

Read next: Exmouth's M&S Foodhall will be open by mid 2017

Whilst the works take place, a brand new Marks & Spencer Foodhall is expected to open just around the corner from Exeter Road.

It will be linked Exmouth railway station, off Marine Way and Royal Avenue.

The store, and space for 61 parking spaces accessible from Royal Avenue, is being constructed on the site of the former bus depot.

It is expected to open in the first half of 2017.

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