IRATE shopkeepers have been left cursing Bromley Council after part of a high street was taken up and re-laid less than two years after a £2.2m improvement works programme.

Orpington High Street was reopened with much fanfare by Mayor Boris Johnson in July 2010 with wider pavements, new signage and block paving used for part of the road.

So businesses in the street were horrified when they learned part of the block paving was being taken up and re-laid.

And even more so when they were told the reason for a delay in finishing the work was because the contractors had run out of blocks.

Cancer Research UK shop manager Mandy Wines said: “I rang Highways at Bromley Council and they said the contractor had run out of blocks.

“Someone should have been finding the blocks and for them to not know what was happening in the high street was disgraceful.

“It has been a total disaster.

“We lost money when they first did the works and this time we were losing about 20 per cent each week.

“And in the shop where I normally have 100 bags of items donated a week I had 10 a week.”

“At the council they did not know what was going on and it was major roadworks.”

H&T Pawnbrokers manager Pauline Batten was mystified about the delay because she could see pallets of blocks from her shop in the High Street.

She said: “Along by Thomson travel agents there were six or seven pallets waiting to be used.

“Coming to work in the mornings I did not come through the High Street while the works were on because it was such a pain and that would have stopped a lot of passing through traffic.”

“We were down about 20 per cent compared to our normal number of customers.”

The works between Boots and the NatWest mini-roundabout were eventually completed on Saturday (June 23).

A Bromley Council spokesman said: "The original scheme is within the guarantee period and it is usual in the construction industry for the contractor to deal with snagging issues and this is precisely what happened here.

"It is unfortunate the work has taken this long but the record amounts of rain have regrettably delayed progress on this job as block paving cannot be laid on water-logged foundations.

"The contractor has also replaced the blocks at the bus stop with a stronger design to better withstand the loading from the buses, and prevent further problems in the future.”