Business owners have described Barnes as a "ghost town" due to a sharp drop in footfall because of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

Traders have complained of a sharp reduction in the amount of customers through their doors, with even regulars being turned away due to traffic problems now rife in the area.

Gill Sabine from Putney owns two businesses in Barnes and has been in business for more than 20 years.

In 1989, she decided to start her own business and launched 'Peach Tree Beauty Clinic' followed by 'Dustbusters' cleaning company, on Church Road in Barnes.

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However, Ms Sabine believes that the recent closure of Hammersmith Bridge has ruined trade in Barnes.

She said: "It’s terrible I have had my business since 1989 and have seen various bridge closures but nothing on this scale.

"I run a beauty salon – we have specialist treatments like laser treatments, plastic surgery and specialist facials.

"However, customers want to come in for treatments but do not want to get onto public transport because they do not fancy sitting in unpredictable traffic.

"I look through the glass windows and the car parks are empty - usually it is hard for customers to find a parking space, but since the bridge closed, Barnes has lost its appeal.

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"Travelling to Sheen can take eight minutes on some days... 48 minutes the next, it even took one of my Richmond customers 40 minutes to get here, which is just ridiculous.

"Businesses need the bridge to be open to traffic otherwise business in Barnes will die."

Ms Sabine says she is also experiencing difficulty with her cleaning business - which covers south-west London.

Dustbusters has suffered significantly because her employees are unable to book evening work or leave certain areas in fear of being stuck in traffic.

Gerry Summers - owner of 'Gerry Summers Jewellery Design' on Barnes High Street, shares the same sentiments as Ms Sabine and believes that London has an obligation to keep Barnes open because it is an ancient and historical artery of the capital.

He said: "Barnes has become a cul-de-sac... we are all incensed that the Government can't get their act together.

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Gerry Summers

"The roadworks caused by Cadent Gas and the closure of Hammersmith Bridge has resulted in me losing customers in Fulham, Putney, Chiswick and wider Surrey.

"There is no point declaring a climate emergency in Richmond when the build up of traffic in neighbouring areas and in Barnes defeats the purpose."

Residents and businesses have repeatedly complained of a lack of updates on the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge, which are expected to take up to three years.

Previous proposals for a temporary parallel road bridge were dismissed as unviable, while plans for a temporary bridge for pedestrians and cyclists have yet to be approved.