THE next stage of Leek’s roadworks has been put off until January.
The £650,000 project will see the controversial “public realm” scheme adjacent to the Nicholson War Memorial extended to the remainder of Derby Street.
Work was due to start this month, with a break from early November, and contractors returning in the New Year to complete the project.
However, the county council said that after listening to residents and businesses, it ha now agreed to carry out the next phase early in 2014 and complete the project before the summer.
The project will involve the widening of footways and a creation of a “shared space” for pedestrians and motorists at the junctions of Russell Street and Market Street.
Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for transport and the connected county, said: “The completion of Derby Street really will deliver the finishing touch to the public realm scheme in Leek and while we are keen to complete the project as quickly as possible, we want to do this with the absolute minimum disruption as possible.
“After listening to traders and businesses, we are more than happy to agree to carry out the investment work in one stretch in the New Year, rather than start now and come back after Christmas.
Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said she had held talks with the county council in order to give Leek a period free of roadworks this year.
She said: “The continuation of road work would have brought some traders to their knees and had the potential to put some out of business.
“Leek cannot afford anymore disruption.
"Many traders have contacted me and I have forwarded their comments to the county.”
However, Leek South county councillor Charlotte Atkins said she would have preferred the work to be done in two stages. She said: “In January, there will be fewer visitors, but the roadworks are not due to finish until the second week in June. Two phases would have reduced the impact for traders.”