‘We can’t move Christmas’ - Suffolk businesses concerned by ‘dramatic impact’ of road closures
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Business and council leaders in two Suffolk communities are concerned that planned roadworks will have a serious impact on their local people this Christmas.
Those living in Eye and Wickham Market have expressed concerns about roadworks which will close vital routes and leave retailers to pick up the pieces.
From December 10 - 13 Cross Street car park will be closed while resurfacing work takes place there. Then on December 17 - 19 Cross Street itself will be closed to through traffic while the new library is connected to the gas line.
Retailer Brett Fraser runs a number of businesses in the town including the Cocoa Mama chocolate shop.
He is extremely unhappy at the timing of the roadworks.
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“I want to see common sense applied. Eye and Wickham Market are quiet between Christmas and New Year. Do it then with no impact. We cannot move Christmas.”
The county council have offered the community centre car park while work takes place but Mr Fraser said this was not feasible.
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“Nobody is going to park at the community centre and walk into town. It just doesn’t happen. They will just go to another town, like Diss.”
He said that his own takings had been down by three quarters following work in the town yesterday to install high speed broadband.
Eye town councillor Andrew Evitt added: “We are very concerned about it in the town council.
“It’s just unbelievable, it’s going to have a pretty dramatic impact.”
Mr Evitt said he understood the long-term benefits of the new library but couldn’t understand the timing.
“It’s a wonderful thing for Eye to have the first new library for a long time,” he said.
“But if only they could have held off a few more days.
“To do it just before Christmas, well words fail me.”
In Wickham Market a major road will be closed for three days while a house is connected up to the main gas line. While residents are sympathetic the closure has been arranged at the worst possible time for businesses.
Cath Caudwell from Wickham Market Partnership said the council needed to ensure proper diversions were in place: “otherwise people are not going to bother coming back again.”
Suffolk County Council said that work in Eye had been coordinated with Essex and Suffolk Water to avoid future unnecessary closures.
Mary Evans, SCC deputy Leader and cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said:“We ensure all roadworks are co-ordinated so that essential works can take place and are completed with minimal disruption.”
“Whilst we cannot prevent emergency works, planned works are occasionally extended due to unforeseen circumstances and some of these run closer to the Christmas period than we’d like – however we regularly inspect utilities works to make sure any overruns are managed appropriately and fines are issued, if necessary.
“We understand that we are coming up to an extremely busy trade period, and of course will continue to show extra consideration when coordinating works on the road network, ensuring the impact on the public and businesses is limited.”