A HUGE £1.8million project to regenerate Sidcup town centre starts on Monday.

The works, which will go on for approximately eight months, will see High Street changed to a one-way system where traffic will only be able to go westbound between Church Road towards Blockbusters.

Hadlow Road and Hatherley Road will be closed at separate times at the high street end for five to seven weeks each.

During each closure the remainder of the road will temporarily become two-way to allow residents to get into their homes.

The scheme will see new pavements, pedestrian crossings, new lighting and better access to public transport , shop fronts and space made for markets and events near the library in Hadlow Road.

Work will begin on Monday at the mini round about at the junction of Church Road and High Street.

Diversions will also be in place for buses via Elm Road and The Green/Church Road.

Businesses in the area have spoken of their concerns and how they want to see a better variety of shops in Sidcup rather than the roads and pavements being changed.

Batuk and Manjula Popat, have run the Sidcup News Box in High Street for 28 years and said a greater variety of shops needed to be brought into the town.

Mrs Popat said: "The roads and the pavement are fine.

"It is the diversity of shops in the high street which needs to be improved.

"We need to be bringing in new businesses which are not cafes, charity shops or hairdressers, there are enough of those in the high street.

"Our customers are not going to be very happy when the works are going on because they are going to cause months of disruption."

The manager of the Swanley Bakery, who didn't want to be named, added: "Lots of customers have come in and raised concerns about it.

"We don't know how bad the disruption is going to be, we will just have to wait and see."

The pavement will be widened outside the HSBC and the bus stop will be moved to give shoppers more space to walk on the pavements.

Hannah Thompson, project manager at Bexley Council for the Sidcup regeneration, said she had been out and about warning businesses of the impending works.

While the high street is shut off to just one-way traffic loading and unloading will be permitted as normal, off peak, within the areas which are not shut off for construction .

Conways, who are carrying out the improvements, will also have two marshalls on hand for shoppers to help them during the works.

A spokesman for Bexley Council also revealed there was a 17 per cent vacancy rate in the high street and now that is down to five per cent because of the work we have been doing with businesses encouraging them to come to Sidcup and set up."

It is hoped the new Adult Education Centre next to Waitrose will be open by February and that the new gym in the former Somerfields store will follow soon after.

A new shop run by Bexley Council will also be opening at 9 High Street and it will be a place where new businesses can rent a space and get started.