THE misery of five months of roadworks was compounded for one gift shop manager after an error by engineers led to the store being without power.

Denise Scott was left in the dark yesterday afternoon at Leonards in Swanage when a mistake by workers carrying out highways safety improvements in Swanage saw them cut through an electrical cable on only the second day of the project.

The lights went out at around 1.30pm and she was forced to close up for the day.

Ms Scott, who is in her fourth season at the helm of the established shop, said this was the worst possible start to a scheme she was opposed to in the first place.

Dorset Council said they are working to improve safety in Institute Road, including relocating several loading bays.

“A lot of the other businesses were not affected but I must be on a different electrical cable,” said Ms Scott. “I went out to speak to the workers and they said they were sorry. They have only been doing this job for two days.

“I have got no lights and cannot trade.”

Providing a statement on the situation yesterday, a Dorset Council spokesperson said: “Our workers upgrading the Station Road pedestrian crossing in Swanage hit a low voltage electricity cable around lunchtime, which supplies a handful of businesses in the area. SSE will have restored the connection by the end of today. While every care is taken to locate cables and ensure energy supplies are not disrupted during highways works, unfortunately, it does happen occasionally.”

The incident has sparked fears for Ms Scott that she faces another year of challenges after struggling throughout 2019 with the plight of the Sandbanks chain ferry, which had a big impact on businesses in Swanage.

“We are all against the Institute Road improvements because of the timescale,” said Ms Scott. “They keep saying it is an accident waiting to happen. An accident could very well happen but initially they said this would take three weeks and now it is five months.

“From February to June I have 1,000 school children coming into my shop. If they don’t come through because of the work then I worry for how my business will cope. They might only spend £2 each but that is my bread and butter.

“With the ferry issues last year we all lost thousands of pounds. I cannot get that back. Coming into this year with this work it makes me wonder what might happen next.”