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3:59pm 14th January 2013

Controversial sewage works could shut parts of Truro for up to 60 weeks.

South West Water wants to put bigger pipes in to prevent waste flooding into homes and businesses. It would mean an upgrade to the sewers underneath Victoria Square, Kenwyn Street and Little Castle Street.

Traders are meeting on Monday, worried prolonged road closures could see some businesses go under.  

Graham Parsons runs the Old Jean Store on Kenwyn Street.

He said: "For us personally, it'll have a massive impact because we get deliveries probably three or four days a week from our suppliers. At the moment, the buses drive past our shop every day, so a lot people on the buses see where we are, see what we sell, so you wouldn't get the flow of people going past the front of the shop.

"If they're going to be digging up the road for sixty weeks, there's going to be a lot of noise, a lot of dirt. If I owned a restaurant or bar, I would be more worried. I think if there's still pedestrian access, we would still get the customers coming in, but I think it would drastically affect this end of town."

Water bosses say homes and businesses are at risk of flooding with sewage unless work is carried out.

BID manager Neil Scott has called a meeting tonight: "The area is predominantly made up of independent traders who are in a secondary location already. They're in the middle of a major economic slowdown as well. To think that they will have major disruption and no vehicular access for that amount of time is frightening.

"It's very easy to panic, and quite frankly I think the scale of what's being talked about then panic is probably one of the correct words, but it's very easy to panic based on part of the story. But we need to find out that full information about are their alternatives that don't entail closing the roads for that amount of time or more importantly are their alternative routes for this pipework can be diverted through"

In a statement, a spokesman for South West Water said: "The sewerage network in parts of Truro is no longer able to cope with the demands placed on it. There are currently 23 properties at risk of internal sewer flooding and five at risk of external sewer flooding in the city centre.

"We are in the process of designing a £3 million scheme to upgrade the network, which will involve replacing the sewers in Frances Street, Kenwyn Street and Little Castle Street with bigger pipes.

"It is possible but not definite that work will start in April 2013 and take up to 60 weeks to complete. We are currently in discussions with Cornwall Council, Truro City Council, the Business Improvement District, local traders and bus companies.

"We are aware that this essential work will cause disruption in the city which is why we will be working closely with the local community to put in place measures to minimise the impact of our works."

3:59pm 14th January 2013

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