Traders braced for road work chaos

TRADERS are today bracing themselves for the closure of a central Ipswich street - and yet more disruption.

TRADERS are today bracing themselves for the closure of a central Ipswich street - and yet more disruption.

Road works in Upper Brook Street inflicted three months of misery last year, negatively impacting on businesses at the worst possible time as the country slipped into recession.

Now, traders are preparing for round two, which begins tomorrow when the road is ploughed once more.

Last year, National Grid replaced the gas main and following the work the borough council installed new kerbing, re-paved the footways, laid a new road surface and installed modern street lighting.

However, depressions have appeared in the road surface, leaving it hazardous and requiring repair.

The work, which will be paid for by National Grid, comes as most businesses enjoy what is traditionally the most lucrative period of year.

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Tracy Chetter, manager of Thing-Me-Bobs, said business had been showing signs of recovery but the upturn in fortune could be knocked by the road closure.

She said: “We lost quite a bit of trade last time, but it had just started coming back. What with the credit crunch and everything this is a real worry.”

Natasha Bentley, Allsorts for the Home manager, described the looming closure “a bit of a nightmare,” and predicted trade would be badly hit.

Carol Lloyd, manager of Browne's Menswear said she was expecting losses of between 15 and 20 per cent.

“We're going to lose trade, there's no two ways about it,” she said. She also claimed Upper Brook Street businesses would face chaos when it came to deliveries.

Age Concern Suffolk chief executive Daphne Savage said she was more worried about how the closure would affect those who use Age Concern's drop-in help centre.

She added: “This news is a worry for charity shops already suffering in the recession, but it is not the lost income that worries us.

“Instead it is the fact that future profits have been budgeted to support the help we give older people in Ipswich.”

Will you be affected? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail