Several weeks of eight-mile diversion will harm our trade, say town firms
PUBLISHED: 12:20 11 June 2019
A month of roadworks which will force drivers to take an eight-mile diversion will hamper trade in a Suffolk market town, business leaders have warned.
The extensive repairs to the drainage system in Needham Market will mean the B1078 between High Street and the turn off for Needham Market Lakes will be closed, along with Lion Lane between the B1113 and the B1078 turn off.
They are due to start on June 17 and run until July 12 in a bid to prevent long-term flooding problems.
The works will effectively block off the southern entrance to the town from junction 51 on the A14, meaning that drivers coming from Ipswich will have to pass the town before taking junction 50 on the A14 at Stowmarket.
That has caused concern amongst business owners about the lack of passing traffic, which will have to take an eight-mile diversion.
A spokesman from Times Past Antiques said: "We probably get about 30 to 40% of our business from passing trade, which will definitely reduce with the roadworks.
"There's also a car boot sale near the lakes twice a week and we usually get a lot of people coming here after that. But now, people will see that the road is closed and just go home.
"I only found out about the roadworks through a local Facebook group.
"We could lose a couple of hundred pounds a week because of it. A lot of the businesses along High Street will lose out."
A spokesman from gift shop Lilac and Lily's added: "Roadworks in Needham Market always affect our business.
"We have a lot of local trade so hopefully that wont change. It will affect other businesses more."
A spokesman from Suffolk Highways said: "We are sorry to hear of the concerns raised regarding the planned roadworks.
"However, the works are to complete extensive repairs to the drainage system, therefore alleviating a long-term flooding problem underneath the railway bridge. To make the most of this necessary road closure, we are also carrying out road repairs and surface dressing.
"Advance warning letters have been issued to key stakeholders, businesses and residents of Needham Market within the road closure and advance warning signs were also put in place to warn road users."