Exning Road in Newmarket reopens following major gas leak

Exning Road was closed after a major gas leak in Newmarket Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Exning Road was closed after a major gas leak in Newmarket Picture: RUSSELL COOK - Credit: Archant

A key road in Newmarket was just shut for eight hours today due to a major gas leak and people were urged to avoid the area.

Firefighters, police and Cadent Gas were called to the incident in Exning Road, near Newmarket Motor Company, around 10am.

A 200-metre exclusion zone was set up.

The road was shut until 6pm when engineers from Cadent stopped the leak.

A Suffolk County Council (SCC) spokeswoman said a “significant main” had been damaged.

The Exning Road are was like a ghost town Picture: RUSSELL COOK

The Exning Road are was like a ghost town Picture: RUSSELL COOK - Credit: Archant

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A spokesman for Cadent Gas said people were evacuated from a nearby car dealership and some homes.

He added: “Emergency engineers at Cadent were able to stop the gas escape on Exning Road, Newmarket just before 6.00pm this evening and then reopened the road.

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“The few people who were evacuated as a safety precaution, have also been allowed back into their properties.

“Our engineers will remain on site this evening to complete the repair to the gas pipe.

“No gas supplies have been impacted by this incident.

“We would like to thank the emergency services and the local community for their patience whilst we dealt with this incident.”

As a result of the leak, Newmarket Academy made arrangements for parents to pick up pupils from an alternative entrance.

Newmarket Leisure Centre closed for the afternoon and some appointments at Newmarket Community Hospital were cancelled.

The leak is understood to have come from a former gas plant which is planned to be turned into a new Aldi store.

Darren and Sharon Coe, who run D’s Barber’s Shop, in Exning Road, said they had lost custom for the day as a result of the road closure.

Mr Coe said: “People just cannot get in to see us so we are standing around doing nothing. The first we knew about the leak was when a police car pulled up and shut the road round about 10am and people are blocked in and cannot get in or out of the area.”

Mrs Coe added: “I would imagine by now the town will be grid-locked as this is a major route in and out of the town. It’s a bit of an inconvenience for everyone and you just don’t realise what a main through road this is.”

An email sent out by Newmarket Academy said they were keeping pupils in school until further notice and to be reassured that “everyone is safe”.

A parent of a 14-year-old girl at the school said: “I came up to get her out of school but I was told by police I cannot do that.

“I feel sick to the pit of my tummy knowing that my baby is in that school. I was coming back from Bury St Edmunds and saw the emergency vehicles.”

Six crews from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service are attending.

The brigade issued a warning on Twitter, which said: “Please avoid the area and keep doors and windows closed.”

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