SOUTHAMPTON City Council has offered relief to a row of businesses that are suffering losses over a road closure set to last 21 weeks.

Six shops in Aldermoor Road are reporting 50% less custom due to Coxford Road being shut.

Carlo Pace, who fears this may bring an end to his hairdressers Mimmo, said a lot of people think the shops are no longer accessible.

But now the council organised signage highlighting that local businesses remain open as usual – and has also said store owners can apply for business rates relief.

Speaking after the Echo revealed the traders’ plight, a council spokesperson said: “We always endeavour to provide reasonable notice of upcoming roadworks and sent letters about these works to the affected area two weeks prior to the works commencing.

“We have carried out extensive engagement about this scheme with local residents and businesses, as well as a legal consultation.

“Due to the nature of the work being undertaken, a closure of the road has been necessary to safely manage traffic in the area and ensure the safety of staff working on site.”

The council said signposted diversion routes are in place. Preparatory work is being carried out, with the works due to start on January 24.

The council is trying to reduce the works time with staff working extended hours.

The works are ‘bus priority enhancements’ aimed at reducing congestion for road users at the Coxford Road/ Lord’s Hill Way signalised junction.

They form part of a wider package of improvements across the area and will also support a new hospital park and ride service from Adanac Park, set to launch in spring this year.

Alan Whitehead, Southampton Test MP, has been supporting the shops and contacted the council on their behalf.

He told the Echo: “They have obviously been through such a tough time in the last year or so because of Covid and this is just adding to their struggles trying to keep themselves afloat.”