The manager of a high street charity shop says Sidcup has become a "ghost town" as improvement works approach their ninth month.

Carol Dray, 54, runs the branch of Mind in the High Street and claims customer numbers were down 35 per cent on July last year while sales fell 11 per cent.

She blames Bexley Council’s In Store for Sidcup project under which builders have been working on the High Street since January to remodel shop fronts and pavements.

Mrs Dray told News Shopper: "A lot of people aren’t bothering to come to Sidcup because of the mayhem.

"It’s become a bit of a ghost town. If you were to start a new business here you would go under.

"For the length of time it is taking it hasn’t been worth doing."

Works are set to finish by the end of September but Mrs Dray says the damage has really been done in the last three weeks since builders began pulling up the pavement outside her shop.

She said: "It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I have been asking them to move bollards because I couldn’t even get into my own shop.

News Shopper:

The pavement outside Mind before it was remodelled. 

"I have now got this massive bus stop outside my shop and from the other side you can’t see my beautiful windows.

"This hasn’t helped me in any way and has not made my life easy.

"A lot of people thought I was closed but my loyal customers have been brilliant."

A Bexley Council spokesman said: "We are sorry that this business has seen a drop in trade.

"Together with our contractors we have been in regular contact with local businesses in Sidcup from the beginning of these works.

"This has included leaflets, letters and personal visits.

"The project so far has seen businesses benefit from new shop fronts, local events, support from a dedicated team and much more.

"The latest benefit for Sidcup businesses is a new High Street electronic advertising board that local traders will be invited to use for a minimal rent.

"Residents and businesses can keep up-to-date with the works and the business initiatives in Sidcup by visiting".