TRADERS have voiced frustration after being told a major Cheltenham street will be closed off for roadworks for the third time in six months.
Business owners in Bath Road said they will be left counting the cost of lost custom after learning that Severn Trent will dig up a stretch of the road next month to carry out sewer repairs.
It means the route will be closed to traffic between the junctions with Grosvenor Street and Bath Street for two weeks from February 11.
Traders on the busy road were aghast when they were informed of the news.
Gary Paterson, who runs G's bar, said: "All the businesses will lose out to some extent so it's far from ideal."
News of the disruption, which will include electrical works by Western Power Distribution, comes after the same stretch was closed for two weeks last October and November. Before that it was also closed during August.
Diversions set up to take traffic away from the road caused long queues on the town's one-way system.
Jay Rahman, manager of Prithvi restaurant in Bath Road, said he had hardly taken a booking due to a lack of passing trade during the last time the road was dug up.
He said: "It did have a significant impact on our business."
Staff at Chinese takeaway Gourmet San also said they had been given no prior warning about the roadworks.
And a member of staff at Taylor's estate agents added: "The worst thing is the chaos it causes on the rest of the town's road network due to the diversions." A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Highways admitted the authority had no say in the matter.
She said: "We do our best to coordinate roadworks with the utility companies but we are powerless to stop them from digging up our roads.
"Sometimes, as has happened in Bath Road, emergency works are necessary and as such, are out of our control."
Severn Trent said the repairs, whilst inconvenient, were necessary.
A spokeswoman said: "With any essential repairs to our network of pipes, we always try and complete work while causing as little disruption as possible to the local community.
"In addition, we support local businesses affected by our work with a loss of profits compensation scheme.
"Any business that thinks it has lost profits as a direct result of our work is entitled to apply for compensation."
Meanwhile, Western Power Distribution said they were taking the opportunity to carry out electrical work at the site to fit in with Severn Trent's schedule.