WORK to install a water main has had a 'drastic effect' on a businesses and its ‘trade has plummeted’, its owner has said.

For the past two weeks there has been no access to King Street in Blackburn from the junction with Wainwright Way.

The one-way system, which been described as ‘the gateway to Blackburn’, has been partially reversed with traffic able to access part of King Street from the town centre end, close to the Farm Foods store.

However, those running businesses have said they have been badly affected by the lack of access.

Outdoor Action has supplied outdoor equipment and clothing from its store for more than 40 years.

Owner Matt Hindle said: “The water main installation has been going on for a fortnight now and its set to continue for a few more weeks.

“We’ve seen trade plummet by more than a third since it started.

“It’s having a drastic effect because people are having great difficulty getting to us.

“There may be compensation paid out at a later date but that can’t affect my sales figures and cash flow for this month.

“I just want to let customers know that the shops in King Street remain open even though the street is closed for roadworks.

Shabnam Khan, who represents Kings Court, a business centre which is owned and operated by East Lancashire Deaf Society, has also seen negative affects from the work.

The building is a social enterprise which offers employment opportunities for deaf people.

Kings Court is also home to Courthouse Restaurant and Kings Nursery.

She said: “We’ve seen footfall and trade go down markedly since the utilities work started.

“People can’t park close by and there’s no through traffic.

“I also believe it’s affecting pedestrians and from a distance the fencing around the work looks like it’s not passable.”

A United Utilities spokesman said: “We’re currently installing a new water main in Kings Street.

“We’ll be on site until the end of March.

“During this time we’ll do all we can to keep disruption to a minimum and do apologies for any inconvenience.

“All businesses in the area remain open for business as usual.”

It is not the first time traffic flow in King Street has caused consternation from traders.

In November 2015, the one-way traffic flow was reversed back to inward-only

In 2011, the key town centre artery was made outwards-only, angering traders on the road.

The completion of the new link road between Wainwright Bridge and Montague Street, which opened around a year ago, led to the review.