“FORGOTTEN” traders in Bewdley fear they have been left “high and dry” after being left out of works to improve paving in the town.

Shopkeepers at the top end of Load Street behind St Anne’s Church claim they are in the forgotten part of Bewdley as the area has not been included in plans to enhance the town centre.

Work to renew and improve the appearance of footways and kerbs is already well under way as part of Worcestershire County Council's third Worcestershire Local Transport Plan on the north and south side of Load Street but has stopped at the church, traders claim.

It means some of the town’s shops will be left with “untidy Tarmac” instead of new slabs, said Dawn Porter, owner of haberdashery store Notions.

She added: “It just seems strange that the paving works they are doing at the moment is stopping at the back of the church.

“The rest of us are left high and dry. The pavement is really hazardous around here so it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense that they have spent a huge amount of money on this block paving when they could have used a cheaper Tarmac and benefited the whole town.

“Do our rates not count for anything? We always get the short end of the straw – we don’t get the Christmas lights this far.

“It’s almost as if traders at that end of town are more important than traders at this end.”

She added it would have been “much better” if all the paving in the town centre was relayed with Tarmac and kerb stones, adding she had seen a drop in trade since the work started, as it had restricted the traffic flow.

Alan Banks, owner of Arkwrights Hardware, said it was a case of “out of sight, out of mind” for shops at the back of the church.

“If they are going to do it they should do it all,” he added.

Jon Fraser, the county council’s highways manager, said: “We have focused our efforts on the wider pedestrian areas of Load Street, which will have the largest impact for the current resources we have.

“However, it remains our aspiration to enhance and rejuvenate further areas of the towninthe future."