A prominent Penrith businessman fears new traffic measures introduced by Cumbria County Council to aid social distancing could send some struggling town centre traders over the edge.

Dan Harding, who runs the award-winning Angel Lane Chippie and Sandgate Friery in the town centre, as well as the Foundry 34 restaurant, bar and hotel, warned the council's move to stop through traffic on the main road through the town centre from tomorrow will only make matters worse for businesses.

The measures are being implemented to allow enough room for people to obey social distancing guidelines ahead of the first weekend since many non-essential shops were allowed to reopen.

Mr Harding's shop in Angel Lane is due to reopen on Tuesday, with click-and-collect orders already offered from his other two businesses, but he admitted he is now having second thoughts.

“People are concerned that they are trying to reopen and they are already on a knife edge on whether they survive," he said.

“I think everybody appreciates the council wants to create some room for social distancing.

"I am strongly considering whether I bother reopening.

"The high street was suffering, there's no secret about that; COVID-19 is going to push that further and then the road closure is part of that to push a lot of businesses over the edge."

From tomorrow, the main route will be closed with restricted access via Sandgate and Burrowgate for deliveries, residents and disabled badge holders.

Southbound traffic will be stopped at the junction of Middlegate and Brunswick Road and, for northbound traffic, on King Street outside Lloyds Bank.

King Street will only be open for access from the junction with Old London Road.

On-street parking on Middlegate, Devonshire Street and King Street will be restricted to disabled bays and loading bays.

The diversion route for southbound traffic will be via Brunswick Road, Cromwell Road, Ullswater Road, the A66 and Bridge Lane and in the reverse direction for northbound traffic.

Mr Harding, who is also part of Penrith's Business Improvement District, questioned why a one-way system could not have been introduced on footpaths and said diverting traffic into Brunswick Road could lead to heavy congestion.

Helen Fearon, who is a county councillor for Penrith West, said: "I understand that the business community in Penrith may have some concerns regarding the new temporary measures.

"However, I’d like to reassure them that we will continue to work closely with them and support them to overcome any challenges the new measures may create."