Ipswich: Struggling business claim they could be forced to close as roadworks hamper trade
A RESTAURANT which has served the people of Ipswich for 21 years could be forced to close within weeks as a result of crippling roadworks outside the business, it was claimed today.
The grim forecast was made by Harun Mahmud, from A Passage to India, as the lengthy project by National Grid to replace 100-year-old gas mains in Fore Street, Orwell Place, Eagle Street and Upper Orwell Street continue to leave a huge dent in businesses’ takings.
Mr Mahmud said: “The roadworks have affected us so much.
“Our takings are down so much and people just aren’t able to get to us.
“We are losing out on the trade we used to get from people passing by. If people didn’t already know we were here, then they wouldn’t know because they wouldn’t come past us any more. We have become invisible to visitors.
“They are saying work will be done in about six weeks, but we might not be here then. Things are bad for business at the moment.”
Fellow shop owners in the area say they are also to struggle to make a living.
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Mother and daughter duo Cherie and Shelia Bloom – two of the three owners of Ladies That Lunch – said the situation was “nothing short of dire”.
Cherie said: “Everyone is in the same boat and it is so sad. I think so many businesses down here will see the next six weeks as vitally important.
“If things don’t change then we will be closed. We have put all our money into this, and when there isn’t any more money then there is no other option.
“We’re holding on, but there’s only so long a business can survive in these conditions.
“We need the help and support of the council on this too.”
Morgan Decker, owner of The Townhouse, added: “My business has been affected but no way to the degree some others have been. These roadworks have been a death blow to the area.”
A spokesman for National Grid said: “We have put more crew on the ground and despite all the technical difficulties we have faced our work is progressing well and we hope to be leaving the area earlier than planned. National Grid’s top priority is to ensure that the people of Ipswich have a safe and secure gas supply.”
A spokeswoman for the borough council said they were currently assessing ways to make the repayment of business rates easier.