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National Grid fail to offer explanation for Bury St Edmunds ‘gas leak’ which forced closure of Arc shopping centre on Saturday

PUBLISHED: 17:48 24 November 2014 | UPDATED: 19:22 24 November 2014

The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds was cordoned off due to a gas leak.

The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds was cordoned off due to a gas leak.

Archant

A shopping centre manager has vowed to try to get to the bottom of a mystery odour after investigations have left people none the wiser.

The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds was cordoned off due to a gas leak. The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds was cordoned off due to a gas leak.

A strong smell of gas led to the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds being closed for five hours on Saturday, which will have left traders counting the cost.

Arc centre manager Colin Roberts said today National Grid had not been able to offer any explanation whatsoever for the odour, and had also told him they would not be investigating it further.

Mr Roberts said: “From my perspective this is not acceptable. Public safety is absolutely paramount. In hindsight we would probably take the same decision [to evacuate the centre].

“The loss to business was massive, not just to our traders, but others.”

He added: “We need to find out what the cause of this actually was.

“So while National Grid are not investigating this any further, we are continuing to investigate to try to get to the bottom of this. We need to know. Something had to cause this.”

He said what the centre did know with “absolute certainty” was the odour was not caused by faulty equipment.

A spokeswoman for National Grid said: “Safety is our top priority and we take any reports of a potential smell of gas very seriously.

“We carried out a thorough search of the building, using sensitive gas detection equipment. However, there was no indication of any gas leaks. If people are concerned that there may be a gas leak they should contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 and we will always respond.”

Mr Roberts estimated perhaps between £600,000 £700,000 had been lost by the Arc as a result of the closure.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of the Ourburystedmunds business group, said while Saturday’s incident was very unfortunate for the Arc’s traders, others managed to “continue the great offer that’s available throughout the rest of the town, including the market traders and independent businesses”.

Liz Sneezum, a partner at Sneezums, said while the shop in Cornhill had been open on Saturday, she believed trade had been affected to a degree due to the closure of Central Walk, which connects the Arc and the old part of the town

• The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre begins on Thursday at 4pm.

For more on late night shopping hours in Bury St Edmunds, see our guide here

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