THREE months of roadworks begin on a busy Bournemouth route on Monday.

The work, on Christchurch Road in Boscombe East and Iford, will cost around £323,000 and is part of a scheme to improve walking, cycling and bus facilities.

The first stage of the scheme will cover the stretch between Southbourne Road and Warnford Road.

It is part of the Three Towns Travel Initiative, which attracted £12million for Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch to spend on transport improvements.

Christchurch Road will be given cycle lanes, new parking bays, raised crossings for pedestrians, better street lighting, a new zebra crossing west of Waltham Road and more parking restrictions.

Retailers in Christchurch Road said trade had been badly hit by an earlier phase of work this year.

Marc McHale, of Bournemouth Cycleworks, said: “We were 25 per cent down when the work started in February. Within a week of the work finishing, we were back to record growth.

“I think this is going to be great for the area but it’s frustrating the council don’t listen to us.”

Laura Morgan, of the florist Flaura Boutique, said: “The last time it was supposed to be eight weeks. In the end it was about 11. They estimate 12 weeks this time but who knows how long it’s going to be?

“I’m sure in the long term it’s going to be better but it’s the time of year they decided to do it. They could have started in January, when everyone’s quiet.”

Bridget Moorhouse, manager of the Lighting Shop, said the business had brought forward the start of a closing down sale during the earlier roadworks.

“We started our closing down sale early because we were losing money,” she said.

“It caused a lot of problems and it’s starting again.”

Cllr Michael Filer, Bourne-mouth council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “The area on Christchurch Road between Southbourne Road and Exton Road is heavily used by many local residents, businesses and commuters.

“By improving these facilities we’re able to encourage more people to walk, cycle or take the bus instead, which will help reduce congestion and improve journey times.”

The work will be carried out in two sections – starting between Hambledon Road and Warnford Road and moving on to the area between Holdenhurst Avenue and Southbourne Road.