Ipswich: Extra crews brought in to speed up Fore Street roadworks

A TOWN MP has today pledged his support for shop owners who say their trade has continued to suffer since roadworks began on the doorsteps more than five months ago.

Businesses in Fore Street, Orwell Place, Upper Orwell Street and Eagle Street previously hit out at National Grid as works continued to hamper their takings each week.

But now, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has pledged to back shop owners and his talks with the gas provider have meant they are increasing the number of teams carrying out the gas pipe replacement project.

Mr Gummer said: “I’m pleased to say that National Grid have now increased their manpower by 200 per cent – from one team to three working on the site.

“Their people are even talking to the businesses about compensation, so it is really great news for them.

“I know it is difficult for them to determine a finish date because they never know what they will be faced with underground, but I am hopeful that this will bring it all forward.”

The borough council took several businesses to court last week over business rates and was granted a liability order – meaning the businesses must pay up.

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Raymond Miller, National Grid Spokesman for the East of England, said: “We are pleased that we are able to provide additional resources to our gas mains replacement project in Upper Orwell and Fore Street.

“We had previously been working six days per week, in addition we will now be working on Sundays with two additional crews on the ground.

“We are doing everything we can to finish this work as quickly as possible.

“This project has unexpectedly become technically difficult and complex, but the work is vital to ensure a continuing safe and secure gas supply for the people of Ipswich.”