The new year for Weymouth will bring a major engineering scheme which is set to cause disruption in the town centre for two months.

Wessex Water will embark on the project in St Thomas Street from tomorrow.

It is set to last until the end of February, but traders have raised concern over the planned works.

Engineers will replace an ageing water main in a section of the street from New Bond Street to the junction with St Edmund Street near the Crown Hotel.

This section of St Thomas Street will be closed for eight weeks as will New Bond Street near New Look where a workers’ compound will be sited. Traders in the area were notified of the planned works by Wessex Water earlier this month.

However, they are concerned over a potential lack of footfall and the effect it could have on the many deliveries carried out at businesses along the street each week. 

Fiona Penny, owner of florist Fiona Penny at Sunflowers on St Thomas Street, said that the onus was on Wessex water to ensure traders were not compromised by the works.

She said: “It’s going to cause congestion, that’s the biggest thing.

“We’re concerned with the issue of loading as we have deliveries that have to go out by 10.30am. 

“As long as the pedestrian walkways are left clear and the traffic wardens are more lenient towards parking it should be OK. They’ve just got to help us out.”

As most of St Thomas Street is a pedestrian zone it is only certain motorists who will be affected including delivery drivers and taxis.

The taxi rank in St Thomas Street will be moved to St Nicholas Street, Wessex Water said.

Independent taxi driver Bob Sanders said: “Business would be non-existent if they moved us around the corner. This collection point is where people come, it’s well established.

They don’t understand because they haven’t sat in this seat and done this job.

“A lot of us have been out here a long time, and we’ll just take a sensible approach to it.”

It is anticipated that bus services which use the top end of St Thomas Street near the Tesco store will be diverted.

A Wessex Water spokesman said it was “essential work” which had been planned and the firm had discussed it with the highways authority, Dorset County Council.

He said everything possible would be done to keep disruption to a minimum.

The spokesman said: “Leaflets with further details about what is planned are being handed out at Tesco and Iceland in the town centre. We apologise for any disruption caused during this work and we thank residents for their co-operation. The scheme is to improve water quality and the main supply in the area.”