“WE are still open” - that is the message from the embattled traders of Barnards Green, who are struggling through ongoing roadworks.

Severn Trent is carrying out major works in the area and the resulting roadworks mean traders and their customers can no longer park outside.

To alleviate some of the problem, Malvern Hills District Council has made parking free in the nearby Geraldine Road car park, though traders are still asking why the work was not done sooner.

Jenny Cain, who runs Barnards Green Post Office, said: “We love seeing our customers, but this really has affected us.

“Our message is that we are still here, so if you can get here, whether on foot, by bus or in the car, please do.

“We recognise the works need to be done, we just want to get the message out there that we are still open and want to see our customers again.”

Severn Trent said the essential work is being done to upgrade the water network in Malvern.

They say it will “provide customers with a modern and reliable water supply for years to come.”

The water company is investing £100,000 to replace 350m of ageing pipes with brand-new ones across Barnard’s Green to help increase water pressure and reduce the number of leaks and bursts in the area.

The project started on Poolbrook Road, after the junction with Bye Road at the start of May.

The work has been delayed however, leading the council to introduce free parking at Geraldine Road.

From now, and up to and including Sunday, July 4, people will be able to park for free in the council’s pay and display car park.

Patrick McGarvey, who runs Cafe in the Green, said there should have been more communication ahead of the work.

He said: “We are very lucky to have such loyal customers who are battling through to still come and see us.

"We have been frustrated by the pace of the work, there are days and sometimes weeks where not much seems to happen.

"It is doubly frustrating that we had five months of being closed due to lockdown when they could have done it.

"We are still open, so don’t forget about us! We value our customers and want to let them know we are still here.”

Ann Powell from Natural Choice said: “We are not against the works, they needed to be done, but they could have done it during the lockdown. It is just lucky for us we can do deliveries.”

The work is expected to carry on throughout July, so Mrs Cain called on residents to support their high street.

She said: “We love our customers and have a really unique high street here, so we want to continue seeing them.

"We need their support now more than ever to keep our vibrant community going.

A Severn Trent spokesman said: “Our £100,000 investment continues in Barnards Green, where our teams have been working to install brand new water pipes for the area to provide them with a reliable supply for the future.

"Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the work has taken longer to complete than expected, and we’re really sorry about that.

"Our teams have faced some issues with ground conditions and other utility pipes in the area, which has put a delay on when the project will be completed which is now looking to be mid-July.

"Again, we’re sorry for any inconvenience and it is our priority to complete the project as quickly as possible.

"Once all of the work is complete, the area will have a modern and reliable water network that will last for generations.”