A WALKWAY opened last autumn to link Chipping Sodbury High Street with its new supermarket is to close again while building work gets underway.

The link from Coffee #1 on High Street, through an old storage yard and across a new bridge over the River Frome to the new Waitrose store, will close on Monday (February 10) and could remain shut until June.

The area, which has been named Hatheralls Yard after the old DIY shop which previously occupied Coffee #1, will become a building site as construction work on five new units begins.

The shops will eventually house three retailers, who have not yet been revealed, with two firms taking up double units. A further four lockable market stalls will be erected for various businesses and individuals to rent on an informal basis.

Paddy Fox, director of developers Chelverton Deeley Freed, told the Gazette the firm, and Waitrose, did not want to have to close the link.

“We don’t want it to close but it is where we need to be,” he said. “We cannot have people walking through a construction site.”

He said it was hoped the link would reopen before June but it could not be guaranteed at this stage.

“Along with Waitrose are very disappointed that the link must close but it is essential for health and safety reasons given a number of factors which include the amount of demolition required, even though some structures are remaining, and the heavy machinery we would be operating on site,” he said.

“We will be revisiting the need for the closure on an ongoing basis once the major construction works are complete to see if there is any way that we can open the link early as we fully appreciate that it has become an important route for pedestrians from the town car park to the High Street.”

He said contracts on the retail units were close to being confirmed.

Mr Fox added: “Once complete the link will provide a very pleasant walk to the town centre.

“The four market stalls will be available on an informal basis to rent daily, weekly or monthly. Someone may want to sell their pottery or jams there once a month and we will just see how it goes. They will each be almost the size of a garage, fully protected and have lighting.”

Pedestrians are asked to use Wickwar Road as an alternative route to the car park and Waitrose store.