Blackpool faced another day of traffic chaos yesterday as road closures continue to cause huge queues.
Business owners in the town claimed trouble on the roads has had a knock-on effect on the number of customers they see during the day – although council chiefs insist the pain will be worth it in the long run.
Paul Parker, owner of Pets Paradise on Topping Street, said: “It’s definitely affecting business.
“Today has been a bad day. It’s a pain in the backside when it comes to my supply vehicles trying to get parked up, unfortunately.
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“People are tending to not even attempt driving down the street now. They are actually keeping away.”
Maria Menelaou, owner of Yorkshire Fisheries, also on Topping Street, said: “It has affected staff coming into work on time. It’s putting certain people off coming through. The number of people coming in at tea time particularly has dropped.
“Customers have said that it has taken them a long time to come in and that the traffic was awful.”
The junction of Talbot Square and Blackpool Promenade has been closed as part of the preparation for a £21m tram track extension to North Station.
A stretch of Dickson Road has closed for resurfacing. Meanwhile, Harrowside and Squires Gate bridges are undergoing major repairs.
Coun Tony Williams has called for free parking to be offered in the run up to Christmas to entice shoppers who have been put off by the traffic.
The closures sparked anger online among some residents, prompting Blackpool Council to post on Twitter saying it welcomed comments but urged people not to swear.
One Twitter user, Liam McKenzie, responded: “You need to sort [this out] before there’s a major accident or problem... good luck with getting the emergency services there on time.”
And Val Bradford wrote on social media: “Whoever designed this diversion needs sacking! It’s a joke! ”
Jo Nicholson said: “It took my daughter one hour 40 minutes to get from one side of town to the other, usually a five to 10-minute journey. Absolute disgrace. I can’t get out of my own street – the whole town is chaos!”
Blackpool Council has apologised for any delays caused by the road closures.
Fred Jackson, cabinet member for highways, said: “The works are vital and are part of a larger project to create a better town centre for residents, visitors and businesses, and lead to further investment and job creation for people.”
He added that discount parking charges were being offered on key shopping days to bring shoppers into the town.