Traders anger over 'maze' outside

FRUSTRATED shop staff argue re-paving work is causing havoc with trade.Traders were told improvements to the road and pathway in Fore Street, Ipswich, would take 12 weeks to complete.

FRUSTRATED shop staff argue re-paving work is causing havoc with trade.

Traders were told improvements to the road and pathway in Fore Street, Ipswich, would take 12 weeks to complete.

But five months down the line work is going on.

They also argue bad signage confuses motorists who do not realise they can access Fore Street from Star Lane.


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Michael Atkinson, director of Martin and Newby, said: "It is like people are trying to find their way into the heart of a maze.

"I and several other traders are getting more and more frustrated with the delays. Customers are fed up about it.

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"Since this whole thing has started our turnover has been down in March, April and May.

"In June it was fractionally up because we had a very disappointing month last year compared to the months before.

"But our trade was most heavily affected in July when the car park was closed for two weeks. Cash sales went down 15 percent compared to the previous year.

"Customers are thinking it is going to be pedestrianised. When it is all finished are they going to think they can't drive down here?"

The company received a letter back in December stating work was due to start on January 20 and last 12 weeks.

In February they were told work would not start until March, which it did.

"If it was supposed to take 12 weeks then it should have been finished by mid-June, but it is now August," said Mr Atkinson.

"I contacted Penny Breakwell, councillor and mayor and she gave a completion date for August 13.

"On another occasion she was not available, but I was told they have run out of bricks.

"But if they knew the work was going ahead back in December why weren't enough bricks ordered?"

The lamp posts also need to be replaced.

"The date for this is this weekend and the following weekend which takes us to August 16 and 17," said Mr Atkinson. "So if it all goes to plan it will be re-opened August 18 or 19.

"We are right in the middle of it all and it has just been going on too long.

"Customers are asking how much is it costing and who is paying for it? Who is going to benefit but the end of it? Will it have an obvious benefit rather than a cosmetic exercise?"

An Ipswich Council spokesman apologised for the delays.

He said the work is costing £200,000 including new lighting and is funded from part of the council community improvements budget.

"We are doing this work to improve the look of the area and we are certain this will have a beneficial effect on local businesses," he said.

"However we do agree that this work is taking longer than we thought it would and we apologise for the delays.

"We are still determined to complete the work in the next two weeks and to get traffic moving again."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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