traffic lights and the one- way system past the burnt-out Seven Stars pub in the Homend, Ledbury, are set to be removed this weekend after two months in operation.

The move has been strongly welcomed by local traders.

Len Huff, chairman of the Ledbury Independent Trader's Association, said: "The removal of the one-way system is something I welcome, absolutely.

"I am delighted for the traders and the townsfolk and the visitors. We will all be breathing a sigh of relief."

Mr Huff, of the Toybox in the Homend Mews, said that his own takings were £2,000 a month down on last year's figures for the same period.

He said: "There has to be a cause. We need the two-way traffic back, especially coming up to Christmas."

Homend Butcher and former town councillor, John Miles, said; "I welcome the end of the one-way system. It's causing chaos.

"This needed to be fixed. If people have difficulty getting into town, they'll stop shopping in Ledbury."

Clive Hall, assistant divisional surveyor with Herefordshire Council, said the contractor working on the Seven Stars site had removed the cherry picker and the clean up operation was set to end this week.

He said: "We hope to get two-way traffic by this weekend."

Fresh scaffolding will be set in place on the Seven Stars, and Mr Hall did not rule out the Homend becoming temporarily one-way again at times, to facilitate rebuilding work on the Grade II listed pub.

The pavement area will continue to be off limits and a new barrier-guided temporary walkway will be set in place, to allow the two-way traffic flow while keeping the pedestrians clear of the building site.

The Homend has either been closed to traffic or had a one-way system in operation ever since Sunday, July 22, when a fire destroyed the historic public house.

David Baxter, Herefordshire Council's principal building conservation officer said Ledbury-based architects Stainburn-Taylor were preparing a report into the condition of the Seven Stars pub.

"They are examining how much of the building can be retained with a view to making a listed building application shortly for the reconstruction of the pub."