TRADERS in a York road popular for independent shops and cafes say they have been hit by a major drop in business since the road closed for sewer repairs.

Work has been ongoing in Bishopthorpe Road for almost two weeks - and the road has been shut since September 16 - after a sinkhole appeared while City of York Council was carrying out signal works.

Shops say they have seen a fall in revenue over the last fortnight, with several stores losing 20 per cent of trade.

The council apologised for the impact on businesses, but said the work was necessary to deal with a "major sink hole".

Carol Costello, owner of Costello’s Food Shop, said: “We’ve seen a drop in customers over the last two weeks due to the work and therefore, a lot of food has been thrown away.

“For an independent store, it makes a substantial difference if your cash flow suffers and so it has been a particularly worrying time for myself and other traders.”

A spokesperson for Bishopthorpe Road Traders said more could have been done by the council to publicise that stores and the car park had remained open during the work.

They added that several drivers ignored diversions, driving and parking on small streets like Southlands and Scarcroft Road, which “made both accessibility and deliveries difficult”.

Beppe Lombardo, owner of Trinacria Sicilian Cafe Bar, said: “We all understand the work needed to be completed and in the long run it will be beneficial but a lot of customers presumed that the whole street was shut from the signs when you could still turn onto Scarcroft Road whilst the car park remained open.”

James Gilchrist, the council's assistant director for transport, highways and environment, said: “We’re sorry to hear that businesses have been affected. These were major works, which needed to take place. Upon excavation we found a major sink hole and in order to repair this and keep road users safe we needed additional road closures. Despite the emergency the works have completed on time and the road will be reopening again shortly."

He added that further resurfacing work will take place next week, but in the evenings.

It will happen over four nights between September 30 and October 4 in Bishopthorpe Road and Scarcroft Junction.

There will also be overnight works from October 15-19 between 7pm and 5am.

Mr Gilchrist added: “These works will improve access at the junction, with new signal equipment, but we’ve also created a new pedestrian crossing too. This will improve access to businesses and retailers in the area.

“Bishopthorpe Road is an award winning high street, which we’ve always supported and we of course encourage visitors and residents to support their local shops and businesses.”