GARGRAVE residents lookng forward to enjoying a black-tie dinner party in the middle of the high street.

The streets are devoid of traffic as roadworks continue on the A65, and already residents are dusting off their dinner jackets and picking out their posh frocks for the impromptu event tomorrow (Saturday) at 8pm.

Formal dress is optional, and guests are invited to bring along tables, chairs, food and drink. For more information contact 01756 748483.

Meanwhile, 10 days into the roadworks and t he word on the street is one of praise for the efficient way the work has progressed.

Lancashire County Council's highways department announced the major maintenance scheme in January and said that when the contractors came they would "hit the ground running".

This seems to have been the case since work started on May 7. Reports so far are that work is ahead of schedule and while some businesses are being crippled, no-one is grumbling about the way the job is progressing.

Martin Twiss, who runs Twin Locks Garden Centre on the outskirts of the village, said the work was going on during the most crucial time of year for him and his wife Linda.

"The six weeks from the beginning of May to mid-June is our busiest time of the year. We take 30 per cent of our annual income then and it makes up for the winter period when the garden centre is very quiet. Already takings and customer numbers are down 75 per cent," he said.

"But I have yet to hear a bad word about the way the work is being carried out. The contractors are ahead of schedule and are trying to cause as little disruption as possible," he added.

At a meeting of the parish council this week, the contractors were actually praised for the work, which was in direct contrast to the initial anger the news created.

Mike Hartell-Payne, of the Dalesman Caf, said: "I would like to say thanks to the contractors' lads for working so efficiently and being ahead of schedule."

A resident of Hellifield Road added he was impressed with the good response residents had got from the contractors, particularly in helping them get to their homes.

Peter Wilson, the liaison officer for Cumbrian Industrial, the company carrying out the work, said he was pleased with the reaction from villagers, and how well things were going.

He added that where possible they were enhancing the village and were currently lowering the kerb outside the Dalesman Caf to aid wheelchair and pushchair users.

A dropped kerb is also to be installed at the pelican crossing, as well as an experimental island along Skipton Road.