A COUNCIL worker fears the looming closure of the main road between Bordon and Lindford could force motorists to risk their safety on a watery short cut.

Four vehicles needed rescuing after getting stuck in deep water on the Headley Mill ford last Thursday evening after a day of heavy rainfall.

Stephen Holden and his Lindford Parish Council colleagues fear it could become a regular occurrence as Mill Chase Road could be used as a short cut while Lindford Road is closed for three months.

Mr Holden said: “The ford is a one-way crossing and four cars got stuck the other night – we wonder if people might try to use that ford in both directions.”

Residents and businesses in the village are bracing themselves for a winter of disruption as the section between Royal Drive and Broxhead Farm Road will close next week. The official diversion is a 12-mile route via Liphook, Longmoor and the A325 but locals are more likely to travel via Hollywater.

The looming closure is a bitter pill to swallow for the director of a pub chain as roadworks are becoming a perennial headache for Julian Clarke and the team at New Dawn Pubs.

Their Rose & Crown pub saw a massive drop in trade while flood alleviation work closed the road between Upper and Lower Farringdon for 21 weeks. Now the Royal Exchange is facing the same scenario due to the SSEN work on Lindford Road.

“We’re hoping there will be some more clarity about what is happening but we’re really concerned about the impact it’s going to have on our business,” said Mr Clarke.

“It’s happening over Christmas, which is our busiest time of the year, but we’ve seen the impact a long road closure can have. There’s no compensation available, either.”

The works are part of a major project to improve the resilience of the power network from Alton to Bordon. Although the looming closure has taken many by surprise, the firm has met notice requirements by erecting signs two weeks before the start and conducting a leaflet drop.

The road will temporarily reopen during the festive season but parish councillors are concerned about the closure’s impact on passing trade and emergency access.

“Everybody is up in arms about it,” added Mr Holden.

“We saw the signposts go up about a week ago but until then we hadn’t had any notification.

“People like the Spar and the Chinese takeaway get a lot of passing trade so we’re worried about how it’s going to affect their business.”

“We have received full closure details and will be confirming decisions this week about diversions,” said a spokeswoman for Stagecoach, as the road is on three routes.

“We will serve as many stops as reasonably possible. Full diversion details will be posted on our website and twitter.”