Ipswich: Business owners hit out over roadwork nightmare

TOWN centre business owners today claimed they were being forgotten about as “never-ending roadworks” continue to hamper their takings.

National Grid began to carry out roadworks to replace the gas mains in Fore Street, Ipswich, and the surrounding roads back in April, with access to businesses being almost completely cut-off.

Business owners queued up to speak to The Star to hit out over the digging, which they say has “sucked the life” out of that part of Ipswich. The work, which is on the junction between Fore Street, Orwell Place, Upper Orwell Street and Eagle Street, has made it difficult for shoppers to reach certain buildings in the area.

Carole Emery, owner of the Dress Circle in Fore Street, said passing trade had decreased by more than 50 per cent since the roadworks began.

“On a Saturday we usually take about �200 to �300 but there have been days when we have taken just �17 – and that’s ridiculous. There is no way a business can survive on that – �17 doesn’t even pay for the lighting. My takings are 50pc down and I think all the businesses surrounding the roadworks have been affected by this.

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“This is a recession, business is tough enough as it is and then this happens.”

David East, owner of Daman Interiors in Orwell Place, said the work left his business “completely invisible”.

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“I think it is just disgusting that our businesses are all suffering because of these never-ending roadworks,” he said. “End dates appear to have gone out the window and our business are now completely invisible because the outsides are surrounded by metal fencing and diggers.”

Claire Kalinowska, owner of K’s Coffee Lounge, in Fore Street, said: “The works have affected our business as people are loath to walk past a building site.”

On completion of the works, the county council is set to finish off the resurfacing of the roads, which had been required before the work by National Grid began. The council co-ordinated the work so that transport officials could finish off the surface to meet their design. In Fore Street, block paving will be put in place, with other road surfacing in the surrounding areas.

A council spokesman said they were ready to begin as soon as National Grid was finished.

n What do you think about this issue? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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