CONCERNED shop owners in Alford have been told that a nine-week plan to improve the town's market place will drive more business their way.
A number of vendors in the town claim the construction works have affected their trade but the local authority insists the scheme will provide a safer environment for public transport users and attract more potential customers.
The construction work is expected to be completed in the new year and will provide a "vastly improved" market place with new pedestrian area, bespoke bus shelter, ornate street furniture, information board and cycle parking.
South Market Place is considered an important part of the town's historic core and the authority has taken great care with the design of the bus shelter.
The scheme is also aimed at increasing capacity and comfort for waiting passengers but also provides an attractive centrepiece for the area.
Tanya Vaughan, Principal Projects Officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The original bus stop meant that passengers had to access the bus in the middle of a car park or next to moving vehicles.
"Improvements to the area will make it safer and easier to access the bus stop with a pedestrian zone and better waiting facilities.
"In addition to the new fully accessible bus stop, we're also making a number of other improvements to enhance the overall look of the South Market Place.
"The vast majority of local people are supportive of the project and are keen to see this type of investment in the town."
However, the work, part paid for by the council's economic regeneration fund, has not met with universal acclaim – particularly from Alford Deli owner Mike Dowsett.
He claims the scheme is a waste of public money and is affecting his business.
Mr Dowsett claimed: "This has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. I have made an official complaint. They are doing the work outside my door and it is dangerous to have a JCB there.
"The work is expected to go on until the end of January. I might as well shut down. They say it is to improve the area. But it is bonkers. They have ripped up a car park to do it.
"They are shutting down the library next door and yet spending all this money on doing this work. It is bizarre. I am only open two days a week now.
"This is not Oxford Street, this is Alford. I am fed up trying to work here.
"This work could ruin some local businesses including mine, it's not needed and is an abuse of public money at a time when important services are starved of cash and closing."