IT is an eyesore that is threatening to derail businesses in a Hampshire town centre, according to local traders.

Shop bosses in Eastleigh say scaffolding at a nearby building is blocking them from view and restricting their passing trade.

It was erected last November after Eastleigh Borough Council workers noticed cracks in the building while carrying out resurfacing work on the pavement.

Donna Smith, owner of Titanium hair salon said if the situation remains she could be forced to cut staff numbers.

Meanwhile neighbour Sue Hunt, who runs Fairtrade store Shop Equality, said the eyesore cost her £4,000 during the busy pre-Christmas period in 2013.

Donna said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. There was a crack in the pavement when the council started revamping the area and that only made it bigger meaning we had to have all this scaffolding.

“I’ve lost my beautician here because we can’t get enough business and one of my neighbours is considering selling up as well.

“The council work made the situation worse and yet now they are doing nothing to fix it.

“I’ve written to Mike Thornton and he is taking it up with the council so hopefully there will be something done about this.”

Sue added: “We were told this scaffolding would be gone in weeks and here it is six months later. My turnover in the summer months is low and I rely on the pre-Christmas period to see me through. If trade continues like it is I cannot guarantee I will be here by August.

“My business is all about helping people in poverty in the Third World and it brings in customers from outside Eastleigh specifically coming to my shop so something has to be done.”

Donna has a year-and-ahalf left on her lease at the Wells Place salon but said she would not renew if the scaffolding remains.

But the council says the landlord of the empty building is responsible for the scaffolding and that it has no power to force them to remove it.

A spokesman said: “Following a visit by the council’s Building Control Service and an independent structural consultant the building was found to be unsafe. The council instructed the landlord to make the building safe to avoid any danger to the public in this busy town centre site.”

The Daily Echo approached the landlord but they have so far declined to comment.