SHOP owners in Ebbw Vale are unhappy that works to regenerate the area around Bank Square in the town centre has been delayed.

Keith Pritchard, 58, from Ebbw Vale, has owned Sweets and Things on Bethcar Street for almost three years.

Before Christmas he said Blaenau Gwent Council’s ‘excessive’ works taking place in and around the town was preventing shop owners from getting their usual amount of Christmas business. He said the closure of certain streets meant he saw a 40 per cent drop in profits on what should have been the busiest shopping day of the year.

Now, he is angry that the works, which began in September, have still not been completed – despite the fact initially they were only mean to take nine weeks.

A council spokeswoman said: “The majority of work at Bank Square is completed with the exception of some lighting and pointing to the paving, which is why the contractors are no longer on site daily.

“The pointing requires a period of dry weather and until such time the site is remaining fenced off. Unfortunately there is little we can do about the poor weather conditions we have been experiencing continuously in recent weeks.”

But Mr Pritchard disagrees. He said: “No one has been at the site doing anything for about three weeks. They have installed the dragon and the granite balls, but it’s sill unsafe out there. We were told back in September it would take nine weeks.

“Then we were told there had been a problem and it would take 24 weeks. We were told everything would be finished by mid-February, but that’s passed and still nothing has been finished.

“It’s an absolute nuisance. It doesn’t add up to me, some people have been wondering if they have run out of money for the project. Not just that, but the council told us we would have regular updates on the works, but we have had nothing. They told us it wouldn’t take long and there would be minimal disruption – but that’s simply not true.”

His partner, Zoe Powell, owns Pins and Things also on Bethcar Street. She said: “I have had my shop for 18 years and I have never had to complain before.

“This is now the 25th week of these works and it worries us it has taken three times as long as they said it would.”