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'Absolutely horrendous' - how business has been hit by town sinkhole

PUBLISHED: 13:40 16 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:33 21 June 2019

Hayley Clarke, owner Tides Reach on Lowestoft seafront, says there has been a significant impact on business as a result of the sinkhole on Station Square. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Hayley Clarke, owner Tides Reach on Lowestoft seafront, says there has been a significant impact on business as a result of the sinkhole on Station Square. Picture: Thomas Chapman

Archant

Business owners have lamented their "worst week for a long time" after a sinkhole which caused widespread chaos was finally repaired.

The sinkhole on the A47 Station Square had a significant impact on several Lowestoft businesses. Picture: Mick HowesThe sinkhole on the A47 Station Square had a significant impact on several Lowestoft businesses. Picture: Mick Howes

The hole, which appeared on the A47 Station Square in Lowestoft on Monday, June 3, caused traffic disruption across the town and the surrounding area for 11 days.

After being closed to northbound traffic, the town's Bascule Bridge was later opened to cater for one lane in each direction but motorists continued to experience severe delays.

With Anglian Water having conducted a complex investigation and repaired a damaged section of pipework, the road was finally reopened on Friday (June 14) evening.

But the freak occurrence has been bad for business, according to owners in the town.

Hayley Clarke, owner of the Tides Reach Ice Cream Parlour on Lowestoft seafront, said the volume of traffic had a discernible impact.

"It's definitely been quieter than normal," said Mrs Clarke, 38. "The traffic's been absolutely horrendous. It would normally take me five minutes to drive here from Red Oak Primary, but it's been taking half an hour.

"People just won't sit in that traffic if they don't have to and they've been choosing to go elsewhere."

John Connor, manager at The Thatch restaurant and coffee house on Kirkley Cliff Road, added: "It's been our worst week for a hell of a long time. That includes January, February - all the winter months.

"We didn't think it would affect us quite so much. Of course the weather hasn't helped, but it was a really bad time."

Meanwhile, in the town centre, Woodbine Cafe owner Carole Garrod said customers had simply been put off travelling into town.

"Our morning trade has been severely disrupted," said Mrs Garrod. "There's just been no passing trade and cars have been completely avoiding this area because of the traffic - or haven't been able to get through."

Her husband, Michael, said the recent chaos emphasised the urgent need for a third crossing in the town.

"Even when I was at school in the 1960s we were talking about needing a third crossing," he said. "There have always been awful traffic jams in Lowestoft. The road system is just so poorly designed - it's horrendous."

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