THE final stage of the £7m project to alleviate flooding problems around Cheney Manor will begin today with a four-week closure of the road leading into Cheney Manor Industrial Estate.

The section of the road between Bailey’s Corner roundabout, near the Esso Garage, and the ATS tyre depot will be closed from after rush hour today until Monday, May 18, while contractors for Thames Water connect the new sewer pumping system to the rest of the network.

The diversion route for anyone trying to get to the recycling centre, access businesses or use it as a cut-through to Moredon, will now be Cheney Manor Road, Vicarage Road, Akers Way and Darby Close.

The work will be the last stage in an ambitious scheme to combat severe flooding around the Cheney Manor area and at the Bruce Street Bridges. The aim is to make the sewerage system in Swindon able to deal with predicted growth in capacity up until 2026.

Thames Water head of programme delivery, Mark Taylor, said: “We’re pleased with how our work in Cheney Manor is progressing and would like to thank local residents and road users for their patience as we know this job has caused its fair share of disruption.

“We’re upgrading the sewer network to help people who’ve had the horrible experience of sewage flooding their homes, and to prevent others having to go through that misery, so it’s essential work which had to be done.

“We’re on track to finish the scheme in August, by which time Cheney Manor will have sewers fit to cope not only with wastewater from today’s expanding population, but for years into the future.”

Not everyone is welcoming the news though, as businesses along the affected stretch of road fear for the effect of the coming weeks.

Chris Harrison, of used car business Just Cars in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate, said they had not been warned of the closures until the road signs were put up last Saturday.

“The first we heard of it was on Saturday when the boss came in and told us all they had put signs up at the end of the road,” he said.

“We started looking for some information and we could not even find anything online about what was happening.

“We were left a bit in the dark really.

“Our business is mainly passing trade, so this is going to be an interesting month. We are open on bank holidays because we can’t really afford to lose the day of business. If this is going to be four weeks of disruption that is quite worrying.”

The company will continue to trade and hope the roadworks do not impact them too heavily.

“All we can do is open every day and hope for the best,” added Chris. “About 60 per cent of our trade is from people coming in off the road, and we turn over around £30,000 a month, so I would imagine this is going to hit us quite hard.

“We are a relatively new business, and only moved in here in November. We are a fresh company and this is probably the last thing we need.”