Traders fear road closure

THE closure of one of Suffolk's busiest town centre roads could cause traffic gridlock and devastate businesses in the area, traders warned last night.

Laurence Cawley

THE closure of one of Suffolk's busiest town centre roads could cause traffic gridlock and devastate businesses in the area, traders warned last night.

When the previously unrecorded sewage pipe in Tayfen Road, Bury St Edmunds, ruptured last November, traffic across town ground to a standstill.

Businesses in the area are now fearing repair works planned by Anglian Water, which will see the busy Tayfen Road closed off, will hit them hard because would-be customers will be unable to pull over amid “bumper-to-bumper traffic”.


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The sewage pipe beneath Tayfen Road in Bury St Edmunds was laid before Anglian Water came into operation and the firm had no record of its existence when it gave way last November.

A temporary fix was carried out at the time by Anglian Water, which blamed the weight of traffic above and utility cables and gas mains running close by for the collapse, but the company has now warned its permanent repair will take at least two weeks to complete.

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While the works are carried out, a traffic light system will be set up and motorists diverted via Station Hill and Fornham Road.

Dawn Barras-Brown, who runs The Linden Tree in Out Northgate, said: “The traffic lights will be right outside the pub which will mean people can't get into the car park. I remember what it was like last year and I am pulling my hair out about this.”

She said January was a difficult enough time for businesses without sewage repairs being carried out nearby.

Ms Barras-Brown, who made an impassioned plea for customers who use businesses in the area to endeavour to continue doing so, said: “There are about eight of us down here and we all offer different services.”

Ward councillor for the area David Nettleton said he was urgently investigating whether anything could be done to alleviate the impact on businesses in the area.

“The businesses are all concerned about it,” he said.

His fellow councillor, Christopher Turner, was one of those caught up in the traffic chaos last November. He called on Anglian Water to ensure it stuck to the two-week time-frame and not allow the works to overrun.

The works will start next Monday, between the Station Hill and Fornham Road roundabouts. Tayfen Road will be shut between those two points.

Anglian Water said the affected sewer was neither listed nor recorded which had meant other utility services had placed electric cables and gas mains very close to the sewer.

Collette Nicholls, of Anglian Water, said: “We appreciate the frustration this work will cause motorists and local businesses but thank them for their patience and understanding and hope they will bear with us while we get this important work completed.

“We will do our utmost to ensure that the work progresses well.”

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