PLANNED street improvements in Stourport that could have worsened travel chaos in the run-up to Christmas have been postponed until early in the new year.

The resurfacing work on Bridge Street was due to be followed by a programme of "public realm" improvements, which would have gone on until the end of November.

The improvements would have included new block paving of the pavements either side of Bridge Street, new street furniture and new directional signs.

Councillor Stephen Clee, Wyre Forest District Council's cabinet member for planning, said he sympathised with residents and businesses who had found travel a problem recently.

He added: "The message we want to give is Stourport is open for business as usual in the run-up to Christmas and visitors can come without fear of traffic disruption."

The temporary traffic lights on Worcester Road have now been removed while there has been a reduction to a two-way system on Bridge Street.

County councillor, John Holden, was angry, however, saying people stayed away from the area last weekend because it was announced Bridge Street was to be closed for works. In fact, it remained open for much of the time.

Bridge Street is due to be closed again this weekend and he is demanding contractors make clear their intentions this time around.

Pete Roberts, chairman of Stourport Bridge Street Traders Association, said Bridge Street businesses had the worst trading of the year at the weekend.

He added some shops did not bother opening on Sunday because trade was so bad. He said there was still gridlock. Today he reported cars stuck nose to tail as far as could be seen over the bridge.

Gwen Freeman, shop assistant at Cooks Garden Centre, said traffic on the Worcester Road was flowing quite freely.

She added: "Business is still suffering though because people don't know it has got better and are staying away."

Mr Holden said of the current traffic situation in Stourport: "There are more lights in Stourport than in the Blackpool Illuminations."

Wyre Forest MP, Dr Richard Taylor, said: "I shall be writing about the recent traffic problems in Stourport.

"They have not affected me personally but I went round the town last Saturday and talked to some of the shopkeepers and I know how much they've been affected."

The resurfacing of Bridge Street and the new street lighting will be completed in the next week or so, according to Mr Clee.