ONE END of a Dorchester shopping street has been cordoned off for health and safety reasons.

Traders in the Hardye Arcade insist they are very much open for business after their landlords ordered that the bottom of the arcade be taped off due to falling masonry.

Stuart Jury from County Town butchers contacted Freshwater Property Management about the masonry, which fell early this morning.

He said he was surprised when the company responded by having the end of the arcade completely cordoned off, meaning a long detour for customers to walk round and deterring much passing trade.

Mr Jury said: “We had some masonry fall down first thing this morning at the end of the arcade and I reported it to Freshwater and this is their way of dealing with things.

“We won’t have any customers and it will kill the trade.”

He said he was told that it could be Monday before anything is done about the situation.

Yolande Burgis from Yo Jive vintage clothes store said she was worried by the potential impact on trade.

She said: “It’s a bit of a worry I must say because we do get a lot of passing trade normally and I think it could be a bit of a problem.

“I don’t know how long we are going to have to manage with it.”

Shaun Samways from the Potting Shed labelled the situation ‘scandalous’ and said it was vital the message goes out to people that the shops in the arcade are still very much open for business.

He said proper signage needs to be put in place informing customers of the situation.

Workers at the scene said they had been sent by Freshwater to cordon the area off ‘for safety reasons’ and they could not say how long it would remain in place.