BUSINESSES on Bargates in Christchurch have been "hit really hard"following the continued maintenance works carried out by CityFibre.

The fibre network provider moved onto the site to “lay core infrastructure” ahead of its Christchurch rollout in 2021, which is currently operated by SSE, who finished maintenance works on Bargates on Monday October 12.

However, having initially said that they would be finished by Monday October 19, CityFibre now saying the work will be completed “by the end of the week”, even though signs, owned by SSE say work was due to be completed at the end of September.

City Manager for CityFibre in Bournemouth Lucy Cooper said: “CityFibre is currently carrying out work to lay core infrastructure in Bargates ahead of starting its Christchurch rollout in 2021, which will bring next-generation Full Fibre broadband services within reach of almost every home and business locally.

“At present, SSE is the primary contractor on Bargates, however, in order to make the most of existing road closures and traffic management and minimise disruption at a later date, we have been granted access to the site to do some preliminary works.

“As with all of our build programmes, we work collaboratively with the relevant authorities. In this case, BCP Council has proactively highlighted opportunities to accelerate our build and minimise future impact on roads and traffic, particularly on main routes where other utilities are already carrying out maintenance works.

“We are due to complete our works by the end of the week.”

The most recent extension is one of many setbacks for businesses along Bargates whose trade have been exacerbated by the ongoing roadworks.

Nigel Gray, proprietor of Davis Fishing Tackle said: “We have had absolutely no passing trade since September 8.

“We have had a number of people calling us up asking if we are closed but we are in fact open. The signs at the end of the road says that businesses are open as usual but there are also some that say that the road is closed beyond the car park.

“We were not contacted by the council about it prior to the works taking place. I was only made aware of it the evening before they started.

“The spring, summer and autumn months are our main money-making months. During the winter months, we are lucky to make enough money to clear our overheads.

“Because of the previous works, they have taken away most of our summer trade and now the new works are taking away our autumn trade.”

Businesses have attempted to seek compensation for the time period from which the road was closed but as the works were deemed necessary due to a fractured electrical cable resulting in fluid leakage, no form of compensation is available.

Bargates Fish & Chips Owner Alexander Oniel added: “The Bargates has been hit really hard, with every business feeling the loss of trade through the road closure.

“I do believe the way the situation has been manipulated for financial benefit with 5G and new housing estate all under the emergency works, with no offer of compensation, is another case of how the system is cleverly designed to take and then take more.

“If you challenge you are passed from one office to the next designed to wear you down, then when you get to the end, it’s a straight no.

“To be told the road works will last a week and we are still waiting after five weeks is farcical. Bargates has been completely crushed by this, our trade is down massively as is everyone else in the Bargates.”

BCP Council have taken the opportunity to arrange for two sets of works, carried out by Cityfibre and SSE Telecoms, to be bought forward and completed now while the road is already closed instead of next year.

By coordinating this, these works will now not require a separate road closure, minimising future disruption.

A spokesperson for BCP Council said: “We understand the ongoing SSE works and road closure will be frustrating for local businesses and people.

“We remain in regularly communication with SSE and continue to emphasise the need for them to complete these emergency works as quickly and safely as possible so the road can be reopened to residents.”