Paignton town centre road closed as holes halt workmen
WORK to resurface a busy shopping street in Paignton has ground to a halt after holes were exposed in a sewerage pipe.
Part of Torbay Road was due to be closed for three weeks but workmen had to stop within hours of starting when two holes appeared.
A survey revealed more holes and work has now been suspended indefinitely until South West Water fix the problems.
The situation has left businesses along the road wondering how long it is all going to take.
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John Fellows, who owns Austins newsagents, said: "The shops along here are worried about how long all this will take, we really have no idea.
"We have also had some people thinking the whole street is closed when it isn't."
A section of Torbay Road, between Esplanade Road and the level crossing, has been closed for the work.
The rest of the road is open for business.
Don Kiddle, owner of Cafe Tutto, said: "Trade has definitely been affected by this. I think the problem is nobody knows what is happening and how long it is going to be closed."
Julie Bevan, who owns the Spar shop in Torbay Road, has questioned the wisdom of doing roadworks before the autumn half-term break when Paignton still has many visitors.
She said: "For part of the road to have to put up with a closure at this time of year seems to be idiotic.
"And it is unfortunate that they have put signs up everywhere saying Torbay Road is closed. Right at the bottom of the road near the cinema the road looks almost barricaded in when in fact you can still drive up most of it."
The council admits it does not know when the problem will be solved, although it claims 'good progress' was being made before the holes were found.
A Torbay Council spokesman said: "Following extensive local consultation, the scheme was programmed after the main tourism season and before the run-up to the Christmas period.
"Vehicles can still come up from Esplanade Road and then turn left into Queens Road or right into Garfield Road, and access continues to the rear of most properties."
A spokesman for South West Water said an initial survey revealed several holes in sections of a 600mm stone culvert beneath the road surface.
The survey continued over the weekend. By the end of Monday, they had a complete picture of the state of the network in the area. "Our next task is to review all the footage to determine the extent of the damage before evaluating options for repair," he added.