Traders' anger over run down street

FURIOUS shopkeepers are demanding something be done about a run down Ipswich street where they face a battle against rubbish and even excrement in their doorways.

FURIOUS shopkeepers are demanding something be done about a run down Ipswich street where they face a battle against rubbish and even excrement in their doorways.

Upper Orwell Street was once a thriving collection of businesses, but is now blighted by boarded-up shop fronts and peeling lamp posts.

Shopkeepers say they have had to clear up fast food wrappers, urine and excrement from the doorways of their premises.

Meanwhile, the adjacent Fore Street now has block paving and new street lights.

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Shopkeepers also feel new businesses are unlikely to move to the street while NCP, which owns some of the road, is still planning on converting some of the site into the Mint Quarter shopping centre.

But developer Helical has expressed reluctance until such time as an anchor store can be found.

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Eric Watts, owner of The Dress Circle, said: "This street has been seriously and sadly neglected. The shops open and close.

"Forty per cent of the shops are unoccupied. Some of the shops have been pulled down so now there is just a board.

"The shops that are takeaways don't generate any business for other shops because their main business is at night."

He said that shops sometimes get fast food wrappers through their letter boxes.

Carole Emery who also works at the shop said: "We are really worried about how the street is looking. It is awful."

Freddie Youssef, owner of Acropolis, said he would not be surprised if his business shut down because of it.

He said: "This is the most neglected street in Ipswich.

"If the Mint Quarter happens it will develop the area and generate a lot of pedestrians walking down the street, which will generate business.

"But at the moment, nothing is happening. Customers don't come because it is scummy."

Nigel Pearson, of Sacred Earth, added: "We are a forgotten back street of Ipswich. Nobody wants to run a shop down there knowing that at any minute they could be kicked out by big business or a shopping centre."

Ipswich Partnership agrees that new businesses are not being attracted to the street.

Chairman David Morrell said: "Unfortunately, it is a difficult and uncertain time for the tenants on Upper Orwell Street.

"Until the future of the site concerned is decided, it seems that tenants looking to open shops will favour other areas of the town where the future is more certain."

NCP says it is still hoping to develop the land into the Mint Quarter.

An NCP spokesman said: "NCP has been working with Ipswich Borough Council and its partners for some years to bring the Mint Quarter redevelopment to fruition and are committed to achieving this."

Meanwhile Ipswich Borough Council has said that while there are no plans to block pave Upper Orwell Street, they will take a look at the lamp posts and lamp columns.

A borough council spokesman added: "We do clean the carriageway first thing every morning. We do clean the streets once every day. We are also sending somebody down to have a look."

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