Shops near one of Wales' most important historic buildings fear they may go out of business after losing thousands of pounds due to temporary traffic lights putting people off visiting the town centre.

The Old Market Hall in Llanidloes is currently being repaired but business owners are angry that workers are nowhere to be seen on most days, but the four-way traffic lights are in place causing people to avoid the town and spend money.

Described as "Llanidloes' equivalent of HS2", businesses are frustrated by the lack of accountability and slow progress to fix the Grade II-listed black and white building since the project began more than 12 months ago.

Business owners in the town are calling for compensation after being close to not being able to pay rent and having to lend money to keep afloat.

Award-winning florist Hollie Hulme said the traffic lights outside her China Street shop is having a "catastrophic effect" which has led to her losing £2,500 compared to this time last year.

County Times:  Hollie Hulme, owner of Hollie's Floral Designs, stands outside her flower shop in Llanidloes. Hollie Hulme, owner of Hollie's Floral Designs, stands outside her flower shop in Llanidloes. (Image: Anwen Parry/County Times)

"Powys County Council don’t care and it’s really stressing me out," she said.

"December was supposed to be my busiest month. People were going elsewhere because they couldn’t pull up outside. I had to meet my Dutch lorry in Llandinam because they couldn’t park outside the shop. I’ve had parking tickets because I’ve had to park opposite to deliver funeral arrangements. It’s been hard. I feel like crying.

“It’s massively affecting my business to the point where I didn’t open until much later in January.

“This Valentine’s Day, all I’ve got is five orders; I’m usually knee deep in orders by now. People are just avoiding the town. It’s having a massive effect on all the businesses, and nobody cares. We’re not getting compensated on it. No one is going to pay my bills.”

'Disastrous effect'

County Times: Llanidloes shop owner William Price.Llanidloes shop owner William Price. (Image: Anwen Parry/County Times)

William Price runs his family-run appliance store W. Henry Price next to the Old Market Hall. He says the weekly turnover is down by at least 30 per cent since this time last year.

"If you ever want a classic case study of public sector mismanagement, it's there," William said. "It's had a disastrous effect.

"[The council] will only be happy when they have extinguished any commerce in the middle of Llanidloes.

"There's nobody here. It's like the old westerns where there's tumble weed coming down the street.

"It's not difficult; we're not talking about nuclear science. If they want to keep it, get on with it. We're paying for that. They are always bleating they've got no money. It's just a chronic waste. It's criminal mismanagement.


"Embarrass them into doing their job but I don't have the confidence in them doing it correctly.

"In the end everything will close down, and they won't have to worry about it.

"What we need is fair recompense for the loss in trade we've experienced while that thing has been up. But there's no chance of that.

"The traffic lights have been here far too long. They’ve had three or four goes setting it all up. Instead of doing it once and properly they come back and then don’t turn up.

"[The council] live in a parallel universe where there’s no relationship with the world of commerce. Unfortunately, what little I make goes to pay for that with the determined effort to put me out of business and they’re doing a good job.

"I look at it and I just feel it’s a disgrace."

'It's a shambles'

Llanidloes Town Council raised concerns about the scaffolding and traffic lights surrounding The Old Market Hall which was described by Councillor Glyn Preston as a “series of unfortunate events that has been managed very badly indeed".

Mayor Cllr Jamie Jones said: "It upset me at Christmas time with he town looking a dereliction of beauty. It's having an extraordinary negative impact."

Cllr Gareth Morgan said: "The best way to describe the manner in which the rest of the work is nothing than a bloody shambles and I make no apology of swearing. I’m sick and tired of tolerating the mess. Why should you think of pointing that wall in the middle of winter? Where is the common sense?

"I get lambasted by businesspeople. It has been shut for at least three years. It’s a shambles."

'Important town asset'

Powys County Council was asked if plans were in place to remove the traffic lights and postpone repairs until the weather gets warmer.

In response, a spokesperson for the local authority said: “Works to this historic Grade II listed building are essential to protect this important town asset.  Due to the location of the building, safety measures are required to protect the workforce whilst works are carried out to the fabric of the building.

“Powys County Council recognises the inconvenience caused by the traffic lights and is endeavouring to complete works at the earliest opportunity.”