A TRADER claims his customers could get a soaking or even slip up outside his shop following pavement improvement work in Taunton.

John Dursley, of Enterprise Angling, in East Reach, is angry that an underground channel to take rainwater from a downpipe into the roadside gutter has been covered over.

It has been replaced by an open channel as part of works to spruce up walkways in and around the town centre.

Mr Dursley said: "There's been a channel with a metal cover over it from the downpipe to the gutter ever since I've been here, which is more than ten years.

"It meant that water wouldn't accumulate on the surface of the pavement whenever it rained.

"Now my customers will be put off if it's wet because they won't want to get soaked. And if it's really cold, it will be like an ice rink out there and people will be slipping all over the place."

Mr Dursley added that the base of his downpipe has been concreted over, which means water will back up the downpipe and could cause flooding in his shop.

A Somerset County Council spokesman said pavement works are being carried out at several locations in the county town, including East Reach.

He added: "We appreciate this will cause some temporary disruption to pedestrians and businesses, but it is important work which will provide long-term benefits.

"Down pipes under the footway are technically the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

"However, in many cases they become damaged or blocked which can cause damage to the property or pavement.

"Therefore, where possible we look to replace them with a slotted channel block, creating a maintenance free solution.

"We are happy to meet with any property owners to discuss further.

"Works are going well and are ahead of schedule so we ask people to please bear with us while we invest in the town."