Ipswich: Traders delight as shoppers return after nightmare roadworks
TRADERS have told of their delight as customers continue to return to an area which was hampered by months of roadworks and road closures.
The Fore Street, Eagle Street, Upper Orwell Street and Orwell Place are has been re-open for a month after National Grid completed seven months of roadworks.
During the work, which involved replacing gas mains, businesses told of their anger as the road closures cost then thousands of pounds, with many traders claiming their takings were down by more than 50 per cent.
Carole Emery, owner of the Dress Circle in Fore Street, today said “things were getting better”, having previously spoken out in The Ipswich Star over the long-running saga.
“I have noticed that in the past couple of weeks things have got better, so people are definitely returning to the area,” she said.
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“But it takes a long time to get your customer base back completely. It was never going to happen overnight. At least things are moving now.”
She urged residents to continue using the historic part of town.
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The borough council is planning to re-launch the area next month by hosting a Yuletide market.
Shelia Bloom, of Ladies That Lunch, said: “Things are very slow. People are coming back but not the same amount of people that we had before the road works.
“We are all struggling with our business rates and we are really just working to pay those.
“One of the businesses [K’s Coffee Lounge] has already been forced to close. We are all struggling with rates and it is a big problem.
“We can just hope that people keep coming back and come to the street market which has been arranged by the council. If anything, at least it will give us all a big and much-needed moral boost.”
Businesses in the area are in the process of applying for compensation from National Grid – something Mr Gummer encouraged business owners to push for.
The Fore Street Market is being held on Sunday, December 9, and will see traditional Christmas items go on sale, including decorations, festive food, toys and accessories. Anyone wanting to get a stall should fill in an application by visiting www.ipswichevents.co.uk
Are you pleased to see the area getting back on its feet? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org