MAJOR roads will be closed around Blackpool town centre in the coming weeks as regeneration work begins.
Transport chiefs will shut off High Street, from Dickson Road to Talbot Road, for the next nine days to prepare key roads which will form part of the new Central Business District.
Once this network is re-opened another will close, allowing work to begin on Grosvenor Street, from Caunce Street to Church Street.
This will be closed from May 21 to May 25, followed by the closure of Regent Road, between Adelaide Street to Church Street from May 28 to June 1.
Blackpool Council has moved to reassure residents diversions will be in place while the key routes are closed, but have urged drivers to plan extra time for their journeys.
Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for Streets and Transport, said: “This work is being carried out now so it doesn’t clash with bank holiday weekends or the summer season. Also, we wanted to ensure the road network is in the best possible condition ahead of the Central Business District development starting.”
However, one business leader says the work should have been done in January and February.
Warwick Tunnicliffe, chairman of St John’s and Cedar Square Traders Association, said: “Ideally, we don’t want this at all because we are all working hard and any road closures affect deliveries.
“If it has to be done it has to be quick so we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”
Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, said there was no problem as long as businesses were informed in advance.
He added: “I hope the impact is kept to a minimum for small businesses and they have to be made well aware of the changes.
“Small businesses recognise roadworks are important.
“But they don’t want it to affect them.
Howard Lewis, of the Blackpool Business Leadership Group, added: “We have to look to the future – we’re not going to get all of this investment without the pain of diversions.
“It won’t be great but people will be happy when they see the new Sainsbury’s built.”