The four-week closure of Rickmansworth High Street could jeopardise smaller businesses, shopkeepers have warned.

Traders are angry they were only notified of the closure, which is due to affect the High Street between August 4 and September 1, on Tuesday - less than a week before work is due to begin.

Anil Patel took over Ricky’s Cards, Stationary and Gifts from his cousin, who ran the store for 26 years, eight years ago.

Mr Patel said Hertfordshire County Council is "killing" the High Street and that he is deeply concerned for his business.

He said: "The way they are putting up the rents and now this. Many won’t be able to survive. What can I say? They are killing us. 

"All the smaller shops are closing. Of course I’m worried about my business. The cars won’t be able to come which means the people won’t come."

The main road will be shut between Monday, August 4 and Monday, September 1 from 7.30am to 5pm.

The roadworks will be carried out in two stages to allow workmen to paint lamp columns and bollards, refresh road markings and reconstruct the worn out sections of the road.

The first phase will take place between North Way and Station Road, and will run between August 4 and August 20 and the second will be carried out between August 20 and September 1 in Wensum Way to Station Road.

A diversion route will be in place.

Phil Dunster, owner of Croxley Galleries, said advanced notice of the closure would have done a great deal for him as he could have warned customers, many of whom use their cars to collect large orders.

Mr Dunster said: "For small businesses, if you lose a month’s takings it could take you months to get back on track. It could put somebody out of business. 

"If I had more notice, I would have been able to allow for that and tell my customers. They should have given us more notice and somebody should be liable if we do suffer from it. 

"Maybe if they did the work one week at a time at least the smaller retailers would have a chance. Why not do it in four sections and make life easier for the shop keepers."

Marian Withers, owner of Paws and Claws, said the school holidays is a challenging time of year for her business anyway, adding that to close the street to traffic could have a "massive effect" on her takings.

Mrs Withers said she only found out about the closure on Monday when she drove past an information sign.

Ringway will be carrying out the work on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council.

The road will be closed to traffic but businesses will remain open.

Jerry Pert, regional director, said: "Ringway will be carrying out improvement works on Rickmansworth High Street, to enhance the high street for residents, shoppers and traders. The works which will take four weeks will include updating the bus and parking bays, painting lamp columns and bollards and refreshing all road markings. 

"Businesses will be open as usual and we aim to keep disruption to a minimum and have working restrictions for our busiest roads so that most journeys in peak times are unaffected. Some works are scheduled in the evenings or weekends where there is less traffic. 

"We consider affected schools and places of work and leisure when the works are planned.

However some exceptional works require traffic management during peak times.

"A leaflet drop to all addresses in the vicinity of the works was carried out during the week commencing July 21 and a further one, with updated information, at the start of this week."