December 8 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Beleaguered motorsists, shoppers and traders in Ipswich are set for an early Christmas present as council chiefs pledge a reprieve by halting the roadworks across the town in the run up to the festive season.
From November 15 – when the Christmas lights are set to be switched on – through until the first week of January bosses at Suffolk County Council aim to ensure the town’s road network is roadwork-free.
The aim is to encourage as many people into the town centre to enjoy the festive spirit at what is recognised as a vitally important time for businesses.
Work to rebuild the Old Cattle Market and Tower Ramparts bus stations is expected to be completed by November 15.
Staff working for contractors Skansa will start to work extra shifts from next Monday to ensure the work is finished in time for the run up to Christmas.
Major problems encountered at the Old Cattle Market site have meant that both bus stations will have to be closed simultaneously – an eventuality planners had hoped to avoid.
Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “We recognise that the run up to Christmas is one of the most important periods for Ipswich businesses.
“We’ve therefore reviewed the works being carried out at the bus stations and have asked our contractor to accelerate their programme.
“Of course, this means that we will have to close Tower Ramparts bus station from early September, however provision has been made to relocate bus stops around the town centre.
“We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause however we feel it is essential that we complete these works so that Ipswich can enjoy the Christmas period without the disruption of roadworks.”
Local busisness leaders and councillors welcomed the move.
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, told The Star: “This is a further welcome response to our request that the town’s businesses needed a reassurance that there will be no major roadworks disruption from the Christmas lights switch-on weekend until the New Year.
“If this is a promise of a cone-free trading period, it helps us to send the strong message to our customers that Ipswich will be open for business with no disruption this Christmas.”
And Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere added: “We’re glad that the county council has recognised the vital importance of freeing Ipswich from road works in the lead up to Christmas.
“A cone-free Christmas would be the best possible present for our town’s retailers.”