Shopkeepers’ anger over ‘badly organised’ roadworks

Roadworks in High Street, Leiston - traders are frustrated by the lack of access for customers.

Roadworks in High Street, Leiston - traders are frustrated by the lack of access for customers. - Credit: Archant

Traders in a Suffolk town have been left frustrated and angry by roadworks which have closed the high street to traffic and deterred customers.

While shopkeepers knew the three-week scheme was to take place, they claim it has been “badly organised” and could have been done faster.

There were further problems last weekend when vandals picked up the barriers around the contractors’ equipment and threw them around the site.

Colin Stuart, who runs Titlow’s Newsagents, in High Street, said the upheaval caused by the roadworks had been “very frustrating” and had hit business.

He said: “The question that I have about this situation is why is it necessary for work like this to take so long?

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“I calculated that in the first two weeks the workmen had been on site – actually working – for around 50 hours.

“This means that if the work had been scheduled to be carried out continuously from the time that the road was closed off, then it would have taken just over two days to get to that point.

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“It just seems badly organised. It has brought the town to standstill. It’s been a nightmare.”

Mr Stuart said his shop and others along High Street had suffered from loss of passing trade, which was a vital part of their business, and takings showed that many people were just avoiding the town centre.

He stressed that businesses were still open and trading.

The work involves resurfacing the main shopping street and removing and rebuilding the speed humps at junctions and in the road.

James Finch, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The full project will be finished by the end of Friday to complete the resurfacing works and it will also allow us to clean out and survey the highway drains in this part of Leiston to help alleviate some of the causes of the flooding has taken place in the area.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time, our contractors always aim to do any resurfacing works as quickly as possible, weather permitting.

“Careful consideration was given as to the timing of these works to minimise the impact on businesses. The investment in these essential highway works will ensure these roads remain in good condition for the future.”

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