Ipswich: Businesses urge shoppers to return to area as road works come to an end

WE’RE back!

That was the message from business owners after road closures around Fore Street, Orwell Place, Upper Orwell Street and Eagle Street were finally lifted – after almost SEVEN MONTHS of disruption.

National Grid’s lengthy work to replace gas lines in the area came to an end earlier this month, with county council workers then moving in to resurface the road.

Traders in the area have blasted National Grid over the length of time taken to complete the project – which they claim has hit their takings and left them on the brink of closure.

Today, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer urged shoppers to “use it or lose it” and get behind the area’s once thriving caf�s, restaurants and stores.

His call for action comes as Ipswich Borough Council pledges to launch a marketing campaign to promote the area as a “main artery between the Waterfront and the town centre”.

Mr Gummer said: “The county council’s workmen have worked really hard to ensure the work has been completed as quickly as possible, so I am grateful to them.

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“We need to get this area back up and running.

“It really is an emergency ‘use it or lose it’ situation. So if anyone fancies a nice curry, or a coffee in one of the many wonderful coffee shops, or picking up a nice dress at the shops, then get down here and do it now.

“I know times are tough for people, but we need to help these businesses in this greatly historic area of town to prosper.”

Morgan Decker, owner of The Townhouse in Orwell Place, said getting the area back on the map was vital.

“I’m glad the work is now finally finished and I look forward to a busy Christmas with no interruptions,” he said.

“We do need help in putting this area back on the map. The Waterfront has the nightlife, Tavern Street has a smattering of shops and everywhere in between is just forgotten about – not just by residents but by the council.”

Foez Haque, owner of the Dhaka restaurant, said: “The past few months have been very difficult but we are pleased it is now re-open.

“Many of our customers would drive here through Fore Street and that being closed caused problems for us.

“I think people need to support this area now and help it to be remembered.

“The council also need to get behind us down here.”

A spokesman from the borough council said: “We will be working with traders and partners including University Campus Suffolk on a marketing campaign to promote Fore Street as a main artery between the Waterfront and the town centre and emphasising the importance and wide variety of shops and offices in the street.”

A street market is to be held on Fore Street on December 9, with the Spread Eagle pub acting as a hub for the event. There will be lots of yuletide festivities on the cards.