Fencing shields shops, but it means that they aren't visible from the other side of the road. | Miquel À. Cañellas

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Retailers on Palma's Avenida Jaime III say that they are losing up to 30% of their normal sales because of roadworks that started almost four months ago.

The Emaya municipal services agency has been renewing the drainage and sewage pipes; the work started towards the end of January. At the beginning of April, remains of an old city wall were found. Work was therefore delayed because an archaeological report was needed by the Council of Mallorca's heritage department.

The president of Emaya and the town hall's councillor for the environment, Ramón Perpinyà, explains that two pieces of wall were found. The report was sent to the heritage department and the work is now continuing. The remains were not deemed to have been important and a section of the wall has been removed.

Businesses, however, have been suffering because of the delay. The tourism season has started, but they are missing out because of the roadworks. As Xisco Bover of Blau Press explains: "They've been working for four months now. On the day of the book (Sant Jordi), we set up a table with books but passers-by didn't see us from the other pavement. As we are shielded (by the work fencing), people don't cross the road, and the pedestrian crossing is a distance away."

Other retailers are complaining about the noise and the dust, about the loss of customers to shopping centres and about difficulties with deliveries. At the La Fée Maraboutée boutique, the proprietor says: "I've lost track of time. I don't know how long they've been drilling."

Toni Fuster, the president of the Pimeco small retailers association, said recently that walking around Palma had become "an odyssey" because of all the work that was happening. "It makes us feel that the town hall wants to get all the works done before the next election. They've had three years and now decide to start them all at once."