TRADERS fear a 30-week road work scheme could kill their business.
Wales and West Utilities is carrying out a gas mains replacement programme in Mold town centre starting on Monday, June 11.
The work – to replace more than 1,900 metres of old metal gas pipes with new plastic pipe – is crucial following a gas blast in the town in 2008 which saw a
home in Stanley Street explode.
But traders are fearing the work, which will involve road closures, temporary traffic lights and oneway systems, could seriously affect trade.
Katy Duplock, who owns the Party Shop in the High Street, and Party Shop Two in Earl Road, took over the business last July.
She said: “The business is doing well, we have turned the shop around and I’m worried it’s going to go in reverse.
“I’m worried about how I will get in with deliveries, if I can’t I will be letting people down and that’s bad for business.
“We get a lot of mums with buggies and if they can’t get through they might think ‘well I won’t bother’ and go on the internet instead.
“With Party Shop Two we get a lot of trade from people driving past the window and I’m going to lose all that. It’s a worry.”
Lynne Offless, who works at Vaughan Davies in Wrexham Street, said: “It is going to affect the trade and it will put people off coming.
“But there’s nothing we can do about it, it has got to be done. All we can do is let people know that Mold is open for business.”
Dave Hill, town centre manager said: “Many traders are understandably very nervous. Trading conditions in all towns, including Mold, are not great at the moment.
“Mold is holding itself pretty well in comparison to other towns, but it’s still very fragile.
“The work will be completed by early November, so hopefully this will not impact on the festive trading period.
“It’s a huge concern to many traders and to the town and we want to ensure people know we are open for business.”
Despite the concerns, Mr Hill said it was crucial the work was carried out.
"We have already had one explosion and it is critical the replacement programme is undertaken to reduce the risk of any repetition, which may next time result in injury or even a fatality,” he said.
Cllr Robin Guest added: “A gas explosion in the middle of the high street would damage business far more than the roadworks.”
During part of the roadworks scheme the twice weekly market in High Street will be relocated to Upper High Street.
Mr Hill added: “Moving the market causes problems in its own right, partly because of the incline on that street, but Wales and West is endeavouring to ensure it only occurs for three and a maximum of four market days.”
Wales and West Utilities say deliveries to businesses will be accommodated and the company will also be placing road signs stating that Mold town centre shops and businesses are open as usual.
Peter Hughes, WWU’s project manager said: “We appreciate this work is taking place in a sensitive area and we will be working six days a week to ensure the project is completed as quickly as possible.
“We are aware of the effect of this work on local people and businesses.”