A BUSINESSMAN has slammed the council for lack of action as the opening of Milford Mill Road is delayed again, while a supposed workman from the site boasts on Facebook about his early finish.

Mark Hotson, owner of A World of Furniture, said the ongoing situation at Milford Mill Road and Southampton Road, Salisbury, was “frankly beyond belief”.

The roadworks, which started on April 3, were set to finish on May 15, but last month the council announced they would be delayed for “at least another three weeks” while a McDonald’s and Premier Inn are developed.

Last week the finish date was again pushed back, to June 29.

Mr Hotson said he sees workmen at the site “but rarely working”, and said the delays were causing “absolute pandemonium”.

At about 2.30pm on Friday, he photographed the site where no workmen could be seen and sent the picture to Wiltshire Council.

But when the Journal published the picture on Facebook, a man alleging to be a workman from the site commented that he “don’t blame them [sic] for knocking off early”.

Josh Pulling wrote: “We are nothing but hardworking young men. We deserve an early finish now and then.”

He then claimed the project, which is now set to end almost seven weeks after originally planned, was “ahead of schedule”.

When Journal readers argued that the work was long overdue, and that workmen were rarely seen at the site, Mr Pulling added: “Everyone has the right to make an opinion in this, but at this moment I’m enjoying my afternoon off currently sipping a nice cold cider and black”.

Mr Hotson said: “Evidently no one is properly or coherently managing the whole project, from the workmen up to those in authority.

“Someone at the sharp end has clearly told the gang to stop for the day, and there is absolutely no link between them and both public opinion and the common sense approach of getting the job done.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council previously said the works were extended due to “an unforeseen issue with their utility works”.

The council’s director of highways and transport, Parvis Khansari, apologised for the delays and said the inconvenience caused was “fully appreciated”.

“The council is closely monitoring the situation and, as a local resident and frequent user of these roads, I am personally fully aware of the long delays in getting through the junctions at both ends of Southampton Road,” Mr Khansari added. “Like you I am concerned about these delays and the apparent lack of progress on site.

“The lack of activity by the contractor throughout the closure has been witnessed by many and these have been reported to the council.”

Mr Khansari asked the developers, Life Property Salisbury Ltd, for a statement explaining the delay.

In its response, a spokesman for the company said the delays had been caused by the location of a gas main in the road, which led to the need for revised works for the road improvement .

“Currently, the improvements are significantly progressed,” he added.

“Everything is being done to expedite the works as quickly as possible”.