Ipswich: Traders delight as road reopens after blaze renders St Michael’s Church a danger

Ipswich: Traders are today “over the moon” at the lifting of a week-long road closure, in the aftermath of a devastating church fire.

A section of Upper Orwell Street was cordoned off after a blaze ripped through St Michael’s Church late last Monday.

The alleged arson attack completely destroyed the roof, prompting fears the vacant building could be in danger of collapsing.

Engineers from Ipswich Borough Council have been working to ensure the structure was safe before the road could be reopened yesterday at about 4.30pm.

A spokesman for the council said scaffolding has been erected around the remains.

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He said: “The scaffolding will act like a wall around the church, just in case of high winds, to ensure the building does not collapse.”

The lifting of the road closure has been warmly welcomed by traders who were marooned by the cordon.

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Nicky Spall, owner of All the Fours Cabs said she is “over the moon”, after her business suffered as a result of the closure.

“You won’t believe the impact this has had on us. It has been a nightmare,” she said.

Police are continuing their investigations as it emerged the fire could have been burning for two hours before it was spotted.

Officers have scoured CCTV from the area and carried out door-to-door inquiries.

Witnesses or anyone with information should call Dc Victoria Mitchell at Ipswich CID on 01473 613500.

n What do you think of plans to salvage the church and turn it into a community centre? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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