RESIDENTS and businesses are gearing up for major disruption in Ledbury.

Balfour Beatty is leading works to improve the traffic lights and connect the water mains at Top Cross, a crossroads connecting the A449 and A438, with temporary four-way control from Monday, February 5 up to the start of March.

But there will be a full junction closure from Sunday, February 11 until Saturday, February 17 during the school half-term holidays with Knapp Lane and Cut Throat Lane, a narrow route used as a cut-through, also shut with access for residents only.

On the Voice of Ledbury Facebook page, Tim Smith declared: "You couldn't make it up. It will be utter carnage."

Emily Presley said of the closure on Ledbury Town Council's Facebook page: "So for us workers who commute to Malvern we are going to have to head out through Bosbury/Cradley way?

"I understand the traffic lights need changing but a whole week of it shut?"

Chris Perkins said: "The sanctioned 'diversion' to cover approximately 1.2 miles from Eastnor junction to Top Cross becomes approximately 26 miles (for heavy goods vehicles) - around 40 minutes additional on your journey."

He said cars and particularly HGVs could face tricky rural routes near Eastnor while other drivers unfamiliar with the area may become lost.

But Ledbury South Herefordshire county councillor Stef Simmons said: "We don't underestimate the real cost and inconvenience to people during this period hence trying to inform so people, where possible, can plan ahead.

"It (the closure) is being done in half-term in the hope that reduces numbers impacted.

"I understand there are concerns about deliveries for businesses and we would say to try to organise them in advance or as soon as possible afterwards.

"All the utilities are working in the road together to limit disruption to this one period.

"We all rely on and use safe and stable electric and water connections.

"The traffic lights are being upgraded at the same time to improve current timings/flow.

"Can you imagine the gridlock/trouble caused if Knapp Lane was open and all traffic tried to access this route? It is not safe."

Cllr Simmons said road closures should show on online maps and satnavs and that signage would be placed in advance of road closures, including additional warnings for the Clencher's Mill Lane area.