Fire-hit Sudbury street to re-open one way from town centre

Friars Street will be opened one way for the first time since the fire

Friars Street will be opened one way for the first time since the fire - Credit: Archant

Traffic will be able to access a Sudbury street from the town centre for the first time since a devastating fire destroyed historic buildings there nearly three months ago.

After the blaze in Friars Street, barriers were erected preventing vehicles from accessing the area from Market Hill.

To enable repair work to be carried out safely on the affected buildings, traffic could only get to the street via Station Road.

Although pedestrians have been able walk to Friars Street from Market Hill, some shop owners there claim that their trade has dropped by 30% since the road closure. Alan Devereux, who owns the newsagents A&G News, said it was the “biggest obstacle facing the businesses”.

He was initially told it would partially re-open at the beginning of November but was then informed it would be at least another month.

Last night, Suffolk County Council confirmed that a temporary one-way system would be put in operation from today enabling traffic to travel down Friars Street from the town centre, and signposts have been installed on the junction with Station Road.

Steve Merry, highways assistant manager for the Babergh area, said: “Our guys will be down there after the rush hour on Wednesday morning and will try to get the one-way system in operation – hopefully it will work successfully.

“We are still in the hands of the loss adjusters, insurers and contractors who are doing the repair work on buildings in Friars Street so we are having to play it by ear initially and will modify the system if we encounter problems.”

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Temporary traffic signals will not be reinstated unless significant safety concerns emerge. As traffic can still come up Friars Street and turn right into Station Road, Mr Merry said signs would also be placed at the junction with Church Street and Cross Street to discourage HGV’s from using the narrowed roads.

He continued: “We initially wanted to have a pedestrian walkway on the north side of Friars Street where the fire was, but this is not possible because of the width of the hoarding around the scaffolding and the need for vehicular access to the site.

“This situation will be reassessed after the repairs to the roof of the Javelin shop (which was also affected by the fire) have been completed.”

Mr Merry said he hoped the one-way system would help alleviate some of the problems experienced by shop owners in Friars Street.

He added: “The town council is also hoping to put up some signs on Market Hill listing all of the businesses that are in Friars Street and we are supporting them to do that.”

It is likely to be months before the road can fully reopen and when construction work starts on a building to fill the gap left by shops and flats that were destroyed in the blaze, this is will cause a further delay.

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