ANGRY traders say they have been ‘left for dead’ by council bosses carrying out regeneration work in Blackburn town centre.

Shop owners in Simmons Street have hit out at a ‘lack of support’ from the town hall while their businesses suffer from the disr-uption created by work in the area.

Blackburn College’s new £14m university centre opened last month nearby, and a £10m health centre is being constructed on land off Barbara Castle Way.

But Sue Ghiwala, who owns Addict coffee bar, in Simmons Street, said traders were paying the price for the progress, with disruption to road links and footpaths.

She said three businesses had already closed since the health centre work began in July.

She said: “It will be great when all the work is done, but this is like the forgotten corner of Blackburn.

“People aren’t driving this way unless they have to, and nobody see-ms to walk this way at the moment.

“I can’t blame the const-ruction workers, they are doing their job, but Blackburn with Darwen Council has a regen-eration department set up to help businesses like mine. But they have done nothing.

“They have cut off one of the main arteries for us and didn’t even warn us this was being done.”

She called for banners to be set up saying the shops were open for business as usual, and better signage.

Mark Partington, who works in the Toplex electrical store, Simmons Street, added: “It’s been a nightmare. Our delivery drivers don’t know where they are going and a lot of customers cannot find the store.”

Phil Ainsworth, of the town centre marketing committ-ee, said: “There are developments going on which are obviously exciting for the town, but we have to make sure we do enough to protect existing businesses. We need to be more proactive.”

But Coun Alan Cottam, the town hall’s executive member for regeneration, said it would be worth it in the long run for the traders.

He said: “I understand there is a little bit of local disruption at the moment, but one of the main reasons for the site being chosen for the health centre was to breathe new life into Sudell Cross.

“Around 50,000 patients will go into that building every year.”

Coun Cottam said the new road layout would be completed ‘shortly’, and insisted ‘business as usual’ banners should be the responsibility of the traders.