Saltaire shopkeepers hope major works on the village’s vital roundabout might end before Christmas, their spokesman said last night.

David Ford is chairman of the Saltaire Traders’ Association which met yesterday to discuss any upheaval caused by the removal of the roundabout and arrival of traffic lights.

“We hear on the grapevine that it may be finished before Christmas, a bit earlier than the scheduled date in January – which would be great,” said Mr Ford who owns Saltaire Bookshop.

“The sooner the better is our view and we are all urging the contractors and the council highways people to do everything we can. That said, we have a very good relationship with all parties and want to keep it that way.”

Mr Ford said traders were “fairly positive” about work done so far.

“There are some issues, such as how some of the turns from roads are going to work out, but we knew some disruption was necessary. It is difficult to say how it has affected footfall, because it’s been up and down with the school holidays.

“But anyone who can prove a drop in takings has been told by the Council to put in for a rates rebate,” Mr Ford said.

Yesterday he wrote to the council and contractors asking if work could be paused during the culmination of Saltaire Festival, which takes place on September 21 and 22 and is expected to atrract thousands of people.

“The message is we want as many people as possible to keep coming to Saltaire,” he said.

Councillor Martin Love (Green, Shipley) said he felt the improvement work was going “relatively smoothly”.

“I think quite a lot of people are avoiding driving through the area because of the works which has kept the traffic lighter, as have the summer holidays,” he said. “But In the last week there have been slightly more delays to traffic during off peak times and that is partly due to the schools now being back.”

Coun Love said that as far as he was aware there was not much work being done at weekends and therefore should not interfere with people getting to the festival.