Traders fear they could lose their livelihoods if their business rents rise by almost three times.

Three Rivers District Council recently granted planning consent for Phase 2 of the South Oxhey Initiative, a £172 million town centre regeneration scheme.

Developer Countryside and Home Group will work with the council to deliver 174 new homes, 7,500sq ft of retail space and a new market place, starting in April 2018.

But shopkeepers fear they will have to increase their prices in order to afford the new business rates being introduced as part of the development.

Jack Overing will be closing his business JHD Barbers after 13 years after being unable to cope with the extra rent.

The 33-year-old had been paying £10,000 per year for his business but was told this will increase to nearly £30,000.

He said: “I am all for the development as South Oxhey has fallen into disrepair but increasing the rent by nearly three times is just not realistic.”

Tony Hguyen, manager of Sunrise City American nail bar, in Bridlington Road, will be moving to an alternative location in Station Approach next year but may have to have to increase his prices in the meantime.

He said: “I’m not happy about it, as I don’t want to lose the business.”

Roy Telfer has lived in Puttenham Close, in South Oxhey since 1954 and says he is “set in his ways”, as he walks to the town centre every day to shop.

The 88-year-old said: “People will not accept it and may shop elsewhere, which will have a detrimental effect on independent businesses especially.”

A Countryside spokesman said: “There has been significant investment in the new retail area and public realm at South Oxhey Central and we look forward to completing the first new shops in spring 2018.

“We continue to have positive discussions with local independent retailers, to ensure that a sustainable and vibrant district centre is provided for the community.”

The council has not yet responded.