ROADWORKS that traders feared could destroy local businesses and turn Stourport into a “ghost town” have been postponed.

The works to the water mains and electrical systems, as well as street lights, were due to take place from August 14 in the Gilgal. They were scheduled to last five weeks.

Traders, along with members of Stourport Town Council, mounted a protest to Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions and Worcestershire County Council. As a result, the works have now been delayed until September 18.

Pete Roberts, who owns Petes Prints in Bridge Street, said: “All the traders were up in arms. The roadworks would have taken place during the carnival and during our busiest time for trade. They would have made Stourport a ghost town.

“The change of date will make a big difference. It has prevented a disaster and saved a lot of local businesses but I still don’t see why the works can’t be carried out in January or February, when the town is quiet.

“No-one in County Hall even let us know the works were going to take place.”

John Holden, town Mayor, said: “I am pleased for the traders. The job has to be done, unfortunately, and there is never going to be a good time for it but at least the new arrangement is much better.

“Hopefully, the traders will have peace of mind.”

Conservative, Derek Prodger, the county council’s cabinet member for transport and safe environment, said: “We have been talking to residents and traders in Stourport and have listened to their views.

“It has been decided that the works will be postponed, to start on September 18.

“We understand that these works will cause inconvenience and we would like to ask people to be patient. Taking this opportunity to carry out these essential works to the water mains and electrical systems, as well street lighting improvements, at the same time rather than in piecemeal nature, will minimise the disruption.”

He went on: “We always aim to avoid delays and carrying out these works at this time of year, rather than in winter, enables the contractor to work longer each day, due to the hours of daylight available, and the potential for bad weather delaying the project is far less.

“There is also a danger that delaying the works might lead to even more disruption and inconvenience if people, or traders, were left without power during the dark and cold winter period or if the water mains burst before the new main had been laid.”

A public meeting about the works at Lickhill Community Centre, Lickhill Road, on Monday at 5.30pm will be attended by officers of Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions and county council representatives.