MOTORISTS and business owners in Christchurch are to face further disruptions as the ongoing repair works on Bargates could now last until October 12.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have announced that their extensive maintenance work on Bargates is to be extended for another two weeks as of today (Monday September 28).

Having been called out initially to repair a leaking high voltage main which could have affected 20,000 homes and businesses in the area, the energy company say they have “discovered further leaks” resulting from “unreported damage”.

A spokesperson for SSEN said: “Bargates in Christchurch has a fluid-filled cable that is being repaired. We have discovered further leaks that are the result of previous, unreported damage.

“We have agreed a further two weeks for this work with the council, from Monday.

“SSEN would like to apologise to any residents who have been inconvenienced by these repairs and to assure them that we are working as safely and quickly as possible to complete the work.”

The closure of the Bargates between Twynham Avenue and The Mews has led to widespread travel disruption, with diversions in place along Stour Road causing long queues backing along Fairmile Road.

Christchurch Independent councillor Lesley Dedman has said whilst she is “disappointed” with the extension, she accepts that “the work has to be done”.

She added: “It is vital emergency work which if neglected would have repercussions for homes and businesses in Bargates.

“We in Christchurch have made sure that officers impress upon the Board that they will not take any more time than necessary and will work to complete in the shortest possible time commensurate with safety.

“We really sympathise with businesses affected, and residents affected by the traffic congestion the work causes.”

Bargates Fish and Chips had been forced to reduce their opening hours due to ongoing works outside of their shop.

The fish and chips shop has been closed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday while the works are ongoing.

The owner of the restaurant Alexander Oniel has already vented his frustration at the length of the works before the two-week extension.

He said: “Its frustrating but, if its necessary, it has to be done.

“The road directly in front of us is now dug up with the main issue being the end of road entering Bargates has now been bottlenecked by roadworks across the road.

“This is crippling us and the other businesses within Bargates. The sooner this is completed the better.”