TRADE in Alva may never recover from the disruption caused by improvement works, one shopkeeper has claimed.

Upgrades to the town's main stretch, including four weeks of weekend road closures that came with it, have previously come under fire by Stirling Street shop owners when they spoke to the Advertiser earlier this August.

The £1.6million project, born out of a community action plan published in 2015, is now complete and was recently hailed by community leaders.

However, traders say they are still counting the cost of the disruption caused by 18 months of works.

David Hunter of the town's Day-Today shop claims businesses in the town “are genuinely staring into the abyss of imminent closure” as a result.

He told the Advertiser: “While improvements were definitely needed and welcome, there was no consideration of the impact they had, and still have, on trade.

“It is the final stage – the road resurfacing – which has been the most damaging.

“To carry them out over a month-long period, completely closing access to the main trading area, has caused fury among traders."

David, who believes the works should have been completed sooner, added: “Overall, the council chose to do the works in the most damaging way for businesses."

A Clackmannanshire Council spokesperson explained the works were purposefully designed to allow trade to continue in the interim while the initial construction period was disrupted due to the pandemic.

They said: “The works on the paths were carried out in small sections in order to minimise disruption and to ensure that each shop could remain open for business throughout.

“This also allowed on-street car parking to be managed and remain available.

“The final section of road works were carried out on weekends in order to avoid a lengthy single closure of up to 10 days.

“This was done to reduce the impact on local businesses as the roads were closed on Sundays when the majority of businesses were closed.”

The roadworks required a period without vehicles on the new surfacing and so two consecutive working days were required over these closing weekends.

The upgrades follow work by the Alva Community Action Plan (CAPlan) Group, Alva Development Trust and Sustrans who worked with the Clackmannanshire Council on the design.

It is understood the council was to provide at least £600,000 while the Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme, which is supported by Transport Scotland, had confirmed £889,000 in funding.

The project has upgraded the paving, street lights, added new benches and planters, three traffic controlled pedestrian crossings and more.

However, David fears that some lost trade may never return with workers who changed morning routines as a result unlikely to revert to old habits.

“The impact on all traders has been horrific,” he added.

“Businesses are genuinely staring into the abyss of imminent closure due to the long-term effects of the council's decision-making processes.

“We may be looking at a lovely main street with boarded up shops very soon.”

The regeneration project was presented to the community over a three-day drop-in consultation in February 2019.

Around 650 people called in and the works eventually commenced in April 2021.