Traders in Wetherby have insisted that it is business as usual for the town, despite ongoing gas works.
The £150,000 project to replace Wetherby's gas distribution network has forced roads to close in the town centre over several weeks, but Nish Kanabar, who runs Castlegate Stationers, wants to send a clear message to anyone who feels deterred from coming to Wetherby because of the works.
Mr Kanabar said: "The works have certainly had an impact, we can feel that. We monitor sales closely day to day, and we’ve noticed a change in footfall.
“From our point of view, we can see that traffic is flowing very freely, but people are staying away from Wetherby because they think it is too congested because of the works and it’s gridlocked, but it’s not.
“Our message would be, come to Wetherby, no fear, because businesses are open as normal. We are posting on our Twitter page daily to get this message across.
“People have been coming into the shop, asking what is going on, and how long it is going on for. Customers have said that there are a lot of free parking spaces in town, which again indicates that people are staying away.”
Coun Cindy Bentley said: “The problem is at rush hour when people want to get to work in the morning, and when they are coming home.
“People are obviously fairly fed up of the works, but I think most people also understand that it has to be done, they’re essential works.
"There is no doubt that the town is quieter, but I believe that the traders were consulted and suggested that January is the quietest time of year if work has to be done.
“Once the works on Westgate have finished, I think it will reduce problems. It is just something we have to grit our teeth through and bear."