DRIVERS face up to six months of delays as work to make the area around Regent Circus more pedestrian-friendly begins.

Work is due to begin on Monday, which will involve the temporary closure of Crombey Street close to the new development, although this will only be for a section of the works.

A cinema, supermarket and a number of restaurants are due to open on the former Swindon College site later this year.

With work progressing well on the building, focus is now set to move towards the surrounding roads, which will be altered to make the venue as accessible as possible.

Nearby businesses say they accept some disruption will be inevitable and feel it will be worth it for a complex which could potentially transform the top end of the town centre.

Husnu Cetin, 37, is the owner of Trident Fish Bar opposite the site and says the leisure complex development was one of the main reasons he chose the area.

“I don’t think the traffic will be too bad around here because a lot of the businesses don’t rely on people driving past,” he said.

“Any problems that we do face will be fine when it is built. The car park will make a big difference and hopefully a lot more people will come.

“I have heard some people say they are worried about the extra competition but I think it will be a good thing. I have heard that quite a few people go to Bristol or Bath so when it is finished hopefully they will come here.”

The manager of Rudi’s bar, also on Regent Circus, said most people have come to accept the traffic issues caused.

James Montague, 27, said: “After a while you just get used to all the problems. There are hold-ups when the lorries turn to go onto the site but we’ve come to accept that.

“When it opens though it will be so good for the area we can cope with it. Whatever they do it’ll be better than looking at the college building.

“As a bar I think we’ll benefit from people who maybe want a drink before or after a film.

“When they go out most peopletend to zig-zag and go from one bar to another, but up here we have been a bit isolated so hopefully it will make a difference.”

The construction phase of Regent Circus is due to be completed at Easter with a public opening in the Autumn.