CHRISTMAS trading in Bournemouth could be destroyed unless urgent action is taken to reduce the devastating impact of the A338 roadworks, according to a senior business leader.

Bournemouth BID Chief Operating Officer Paul Kinvig has pleaded with council leader John Beesley to stand up for the town's businesses before it is too late.

Read the letter in full here PaulKinvigletter.docx

Current plans will see the roadworks temporarily lifted from December 10 until January 7 but Mr Kinvig said most Christmas shopping is done in October and November and businesses will suffer irreparable damage.

He has also voiced concerns over the potential effect on the town's new festive attraction, the Christmas Tree Wonderland, which is due to open on November 16.

Roadworks on the southbound carriageway of the A338 Spur Road have seen delays of around an hour and a half and they are set to continue until June next year.

Mr Kinvig represents the Bournemouth Business Improvement District (BID), set up to create a strong trading environment in the town.

He told the Daily Echo: "At the very least the roadworks need to be removed in time for the opening of the Christmas Tree Wonderland.

"We would also like to see them explore night working and anything else which would reduce the impact on the town's traders."

Mr Kinvig spoke out after Beales boss Tony Brown claimed businesses had been ignored in favour of tourism.

Mr Kinvig said he understands the work needs to be done but has major concerns over its timings.

In a letter to Cllr Beesley, he said traffic models claiming delays are a maximum of 40 minutes are incorrect and that commuters are spending around 90 minutes in long queues.

Bournemouth Echo:

Using alternative routes only reduces the time spent in the car by around 10 minutes, he said.

He said he has first-hand knowledge of businesses already suffering, including a restaurant that saw a table of 27 cancelled after customers were unable to get to Bournemouth in time.

He said a national BID meeting revealed that towns across the south are already planning how to take advantage of the perception that shoppers are unable to get to Bournemouth without huge delays.

He said: "Given that 80 per cent of Christmas shopping is done in October and November and the roadworks do not cease until December 10 this will without doubt put at risk the massive investment both BIDs and Bournemouth council have made into the Christmas Tree Wonderland project which launches on Nov 16.

Traffic updates here

"That gap of 24 trading days when Bournemouth has a game-changing offer to come into town and has these crippling travel restrictions cannot be allowed to take place."

He said retailers rely on a successful Christmas trading to get through the rest of the year and added: "This project is seriously undermining the opportunity the festive period presents to our already under pressure retail community."

He said he businesses are losing clients and individuals are hours late for meetings and added: "For something that is so obviously not working, is frankly unacceptable.

"The depth of feeling in the town centre is not the product of negative or nay-saying businesses. It is the reaction of important and angry levy payers who are rightfully concerned about the most important time in the retailing calendar.

Mr Kinvig appealed for more weekend and overnight working on the Spur Road, an earlier return to work in January and a more dynamic traffic management system.

He said the problem is not restricted to weekday rush hours but that drivers are also facing huge delays at weekends.

On Saturday afternoon drivers reported delays of more than an hour.

"This was not peak time, there was no football match and neither was it a peak time Christmas shopping day" added Mr Kinvig.

He stressed again that he understands the need for the work to be done and said: "The concept of reducing the risk of accidents on the Blackwater junction and the whole Wessex Fields project is necessary and extremely laudable. No-one I have spoken to disagrees with the project.

"However the A338 situation is, without putting too fine a point on it, utterly unacceptable."

He pleaded with Cllr Beesley: "You need to fight for us John."