Traffic disruption hit new heights in Bradford on Avon today as pupils and staff returned to the schools after the Easter holidays.

There have already been long delays due to the 24-hour closure of Market Street since April 7 for drainage works in preparation for the creation of the Historic Core Zone.

Shane McCracken, chair of governors at Fitzmaurice Primary School, lives at Farleigh Wick and dropped his son and daughter off at the school for their first day back today.

He said: “It was very disruptive and we had to go round Leigh Park Hotel, Holt Road and Silver Street to avoid the chaos. I was expecting it, so left earlier than normal.

“It is extraordinary that Market Street is closed for so long. We will continue to leave early, we don’t have a choice. We have to get the children to school on time.”

St Laurence School sent out advice and posted a message on its website asking parents and pupils to allow extra time for their journey into school due to 'significant disruption to travel'.

Headteacher Fergus Stewart said: “We have not noticed any significant impact on attendance and we are very appreciative that parents have heeded the advice given out before the Easter break.”

Christ Church Primary School welcomed pupils back yesterday. Chairman of Friends of Christ Church School Caron Staddon lives in Woolley Street and walks her two sons to school.

She said: “Yesterday was absolute chaos and was for most of the morning and someone was moving house yesterday in Silver Street. I don’t think parents realised how bad it would be because it was the first day back.

“I don’t know how many pupils were late but I hope it encourages more people to walk to school.”

Kate Larabie, who works at Carina Baverstock Couture, a wedding dress shop in Silver Street, said: “Traffic has increased this morning. Cars are mounting the pavements because there is no movement. It is difficult for the staff to park because a lot of areas have been coned off to help the traffic flow.

“Our customers make appointments for fittings so we have had to tell them to bear in mind the traffic delays. If we were relying on passing trade it would be more difficult because people aren’t stopping in town.

PCSO Joe Leeds said: “We would advise parents who are driving their children to school to appreciate that New Road into Silver Street, Frome Road and Trowbridge Road will be busy.

"Traffic is slow and we advise people to listen to the radio updates and makes allowances for traffic delays.”

Market Street will remain closed until May 6 but there will be free parking in the town on Saturday and May 3.