WORRIED business owners are clubbing together to fight a planned road closure.

Redrow Homes, the builder of the Penlands Green housing development in Haywards Heath, is planning to close the junction of Balcombe Road, Borde Hill Lane and Hanlye Lane for three months from June 22.

But 15 nearby shops and restaurants fear this could cause “huge disruption” for residents and “threaten the survival of local businesses.”

They have joined to campaign against the closure, forming the Borde Hill Businesses Group. Together, the shops and restaurants employ over 100 staff.

Jeremy Ashpool, acting chairman and owner of Jeremy’s Restaurant, said: “This is a a huge worry for us. We’re talking about our livelihoods.”

“All these independent businesses will be hard-pressed to cope with such a sustained closure of these routes. They will lose custom and income, and the jobs of many employees will be put in jeopardy.”

“It is essential that the matter is handled in a manner which ensures that the interests of a developer operating for private profit are not given more weight than the interests of the public.

“We’re going nowhere until this is dealt with”.

The road closure is part of the plan by Redrow to build a new roundabout to replace the existing junction which is on the north-south artery between Haywards Heath and the M23.

The group says Redrow is taking the cheapest construction option, which would mean that all traffic will be diverted either through Cuckfield and Balcombe, or via Copyhold Lane.

The business owners say this will mean longer journeys and traffic jams for drivers, heavy congestion in Haywards Heath and the surrounding villages of Cuckfield, Balcombe, Lindfield and Ardingly, as well as delays for the emergency services.

The businesses are campaigning for a contraflow system, rather than complete closure.

But Robert Phelps, a spokesman for Redrow Southern Counties, said: “There is a requirement for the roundabout to be built as part of delivering new homes at Penlands Green and our consulting engineers and contractors have advised the road closure is the safest and quickest way to complete the work.”

“The installation of the roundabout will ensure the area’s local infrastructure is improved to meet current and future needs, and will make the local highways network safer for local residents.

“The specific timings have been agreed with West Sussex County Council with particular consideration given to the school holidays and the South of England Show to ensure minimum disruption. However, we recognise the disturbance the closures will cause and will work closely with the council to ensure the work is completed as soon as possible.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We sympathise with residents and businesses as there will be a high level of inconvenience during these works.

“We made extensive efforts to try to find another option but there is no other safe and practical one for the developer.”

“The works have been substantially delayed to give people time to plan for the temporary closure and we have focused on giving the community as much notice as possible, starting with the developer’s notices and letters, which were recently distributed in the area.

“We are also making it a requirement that the developer’s contractor undertake seven-day working to minimise the length of the closure.

“The roads have to be closed because of a big difference in the level of the existing road and proposed road alignment where the new road will join at the new roundabout (where Balcombe Road, Borde Hill and Hanlye Lane intersect). Engineered embankments have to be constructed to support the new road alignment and there is insufficient space to accommodate traffic and the construction activities.

“Once built, the roundabout will improve the current junction arrangement to meet current and future needs and make the local highways network safer.

“The highway improvement works are a requirement of the planning permission, granted in June, 2017, for 210 homes at Penlands Green.”