Work began digging up the city centre last October and although some key streets and squares will be ready for the beginning of 2017, some parts including King Edward St north, Paragon St, Parliament St and Carr Lane are not due to be completed till next Spring.
Coun Martin Mancey, said: “With the next stage of the work now starting, visitors will begin to see what the upheaval has all been about. We have invested in materials that are of incredibly high quality with solid foundations that are designed to last, and this will be obvious for all to see once large areas are completed. We would like to thanks residents and especially the businesses in the city centre for their patience and support during this time. It is clear that they too share the council’s vision for the city centre and know that on completion, they will be the ones to reap the benefits of this massive investment.”
However optometrist Greg Bailey, who owns Aspecs Opticians on Savile Street was “staggered” that the revamp would run into 2017. He said his turnover had slumped 30 per cent in the last five years: “On Saturday I couldn’t see anyone working on Queen Victoria Square. I can’t believe the council would allow the contractors to work four or five days a week, when they could work seven and see it finished.”
Carr Lane butcher Ted Johnston said he was down 25 per cent on last year.
He believes that while hotels, cafes and restaurants will benefit, others, who have been suffering loss of trade, will not: “I’m not against the improvements but I would suspect most people who come to events will be youngsters who will want a drink and a pizza and that’s it.”