ROADWORKS planned to last at least 32 weeks have left local business owners fearing for their future.

Businesses in Uckfield high street are concerned about the effects the roadworks will have on traffic and parking in the area. Work will see parking in the town centre restricted while pavements are widened and construction of a car park at the railway station begin.

Uckfield Chamber of Commerce has appealed to East Sussex County Council to ensure changes to long-term parking will not be put in place until the new station car park is open.

They are also calling for the roadworks to be stopped at Christmas. Fiona Mason, Chamber of Commerce president, said: “We have serious concerns about the impact the roadworks will have on the area.

“It seems like an awfully long time and if it’s anything like 32 weeks it will obviously have a huge impact on traffic in the town centre.

“We’re happy that the town will benefit from this in a few years but our concern is if there will be any shops left to benefit from it.”

The chamber has been invited to join a steering group which includes Uckfield Town Council, Wealden District Council, East Sussex County Council and any other interested parties to discuss the future of the town centre.

East Sussex County Council said the roadworks are necessary to reduce congestion in the town centre.

A spokesman said: “We are working closely with the chamber of commerce, town council and all interested parties to ensure that disruption to individual businesses, as well as the town as a whole, is kept to a minimum and that work is completed in the shortest time.

“Discussions with members of the community are ongoing.”

The work will begin on the new car park at Uckfield Railway Station in the autumn.