ONE of the main roads through Weymouth is to close at the height of the holiday season.

Traders have hit out at the decision to close Littlemoor Road just a week into the school holidays.

It will be closed from Goulds Garden centre near Louviers Road to near to the Somerfield shopping precinct from Friday, July 30 at 6.30pm to 7am on Monday, August 2, while a new drain is put in for the Weymouth Relief Road.

People travelling to the shopping centre will have to approach it from Dorchester Road, via the Littlemoor traffic lights and people wanting to go to the garden centre will have to come from the Preston side.

Businesses along Littlemoor Road have said they will remain open for business despite yet another closure.

The road was closed while new water mains were laid last year. It has suffered numerous delays and blockages as work for the relief road continues.

Somerfield managers Ginny Marshall-Say and June Needham said that they would have preferred if Dorset County Council had put in temporary traffic lights, like those already on Littlemoor Road to ease the traffic to the relief road construction site.

Mrs Marshall-Say said: “Friday night, Saturday and Sunday are our busiest days as it’s when the holiday camps change over.

“It may affect business, especially on Sunday.”

She added: “We understand that the work needs to be done but it’s just ridiculous to do it at the weekend.

“We will still stay open and it’s business as usual.”

Managing director for Goulds Garden Centre Teresa Woolley, said that construction company Skanska, which is undertaking the work, had been very helpful and had promised to let people know that the Littlemoor Road businesses would remain open.

She said: “People will make a decision to have a day out at the garden centre and if there’s a hint that it will not be accessible, they won’t come and it’s important to make sure people know that we will still be open and still accessible.”

Several businesses said they thought people would be put off from using the shops because of the traffic and roadworks.

Kerry Pavey, a supervisor at Martin’s Stores in Littlemoor, said: “It’s a nightmare. If they shut off the road, you have to go round the long way to Preston.”

She added: “It will probably cause disruption with the holiday makers and may affect sales.”

One Preston resident said: “I understand it has to be done, but why do it on a busy weekend when people are arriving here on holiday and being confronted with diversions and nowhere to go?”

Sue Ryder shop manager Jolanta Tararako said: “I don’t think people will go all the way round the diversion, but Saturdays are always quieter. It’s better to have it closed on a Saturday than in the week.”

Some residents accepted that the works ‘had to be done’.

Businessman Alan Collins said: “Obviously it’s a great inconvenience for locals but if work needs to be done, it needs to be done.”

Dorset County Council Weymouth Relief Road project manager, Matthew Piles, said: “Closing Littlemoor Road to through traffic for this short period of time will be less disruptive than if we completed this drainage work under temporary traffic signals, as they would need to be in place for at least a week.”

He added: “The pipe being laid has to go under a fragile water main and it would be at greater risk of rupturing if vehicles were allowed to drive over it during the work.”