A BUSINESSMAN has slammed a two-month roadworks scheme at a key town centre junction as the road is set to finally re-open.

Engineers closed the East Reach and East Street junction at the start of June to carry out essential roadworks, which restricted cars entering the town centre from the eastern side.

The road has now officially been re-opened by councillors after the work was completed ahead of schedule, with councillors claiming the new junction will "make a real difference for shoppers."

But, the re-opening has come too late for one business.

Lord Miles Parker, who owns Lord Parker Photography on East Reach, says that he was forced to shut down his business after having no customers enter his shop since the roadworks started.

The firm is set to shut its doors next week, with Lord Parker saying the roadworks had a huge negative impact on his business, meaning he couldn't even "give away" sessions.

The closure comes after traders claimed the work was hitting business hard in the area.

Lord Parker, who had been based on East Reach for three years, said: "My last client was on June 3.

"I haven't had anyone here since the roadworks began.

"I put so much effort into a social media campaign to drum up some business but I couldn't give it away, which is surprising as I have a good follower base on Facebook and Twitter but I couldn't give sessions away.

"I have had more messages about closing down than I have from people wanting to book sessions.

"The road was so quiet.

"No one drove or walked past."

Lord Parker added he would still be available to photograph weddings despite the closure.

The works were carried out by the council due to a fault in one of the traffic lights, which the council said could have led to a serious incident.

The outdated traffic lights have now been replaced and are fully operational.

Speaking at the re-opening of the works, Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “This important upgrade has made really good progress and I’m very pleased we’ve been able to lift the closure of East Street ahead of schedule.

“My thanks to everyone for their patience over the past few weeks. It’s always challenging to carry out major work like this in a busy location but the end result will have benefits for motorists, shoppers and local traders.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Cllr Roger Habgood, Taunton Deane Borough Council’s executive member for planning and transport, said: “The improvement will make a real difference for shoppers, residents and visitors using this busy junction.

"It’s really good news to hear it’s opening ahead of the target date.”

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: "The new improved junction will make it much easier for pedestrians to cross Hurdle Way and access shops and restaurants in the East Gate area – something which will be a huge benefit to both traders and shoppers.

"We are very sorry to hear that this shop has attributed its closure to the roadworks.

"Somerset County Council has listened to the views of traders and businesses and adapted working methods to minimise disruption wherever possible."