Ipswich: Trade still slow for businesses in street blighted by roadworks

Shelia and Cherie Bloom and Cheryll Davey of Ladies That Lunch, Fore Street, Ipswich

Shelia and Cherie Bloom and Cheryll Davey of Ladies That Lunch, Fore Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Traders in one of Ipswich’s oldest streets are still struggling months after crippling roadworks decimated businesses.

Work in Fore Street, Star Lane, and Grimwade Street to replace a gas main came to an end in October last year after months of interruption and road closures.

Sheryl McGeown, landlady of the Spread Eagle pub for the last five years, said trade is gradually improving but her business is still suffering the effects of the disruption.

She said: “It is an uphill struggle. My daytime trade is still effectively killed. I was surrounded by roadworks for seven months.

“I now have to rebuild trade and re-launch my business, I’ve got to start all over again.”

She added: “Once you lose your trade it is very difficult to get back. It took me years to build up in the first place. We are working with Ipswich Central and the borough council to bring the area up to what it should be.”

With a number of empty shops and to let signs, traders have clearly left the area in recent months.

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Cheryll Davey, a partner in the Ladies That Lunch dress agency, café, wine bar and florist, said her business is still struggling.

She said: “We have customers who tell us they avoid coming into Ipswich. Why would they come here? It is all phone shops, betting shops and charity shops.”

Mrs Davey added: “We have been trading for just under three years. We are struggling but we are hoping to continue.”

For some businesses, however, trade is improving.

Fore Wood Floors started trading in Fore Street just six weeks ago.

Proprietor Aaron Overson said he chose the street because it was economical to move into, closely linked to the Waterfront and easy for customers to park nearby.

He said: “Trade has been OK and we have to be confident about the future.”

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: “We are working with shopkeepers and our partners to re-brand this area of Ipswich as an important gateway between the town and the Waterfront.”