Attleborough's £4.5m roadworks: Have they improved the town?
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
For three years, the topic on almost everybody's lips in Attleborough has been the roadworks.
Designed to support future growth, the Transport for Attleborough project has been affecting businesses, motorists and visitors since it began in August 2018.
Across four different periods, shoppers have been urged to support high street firms for whom trading has proved challenging.
But the programme finally reached its final phase last November, when efforts began to enhance cycling and walking facilities on London Road.
And Jane Aldridge, who runs Aldridge Crafts on Church Street, was generally optimistic about the potential for retailers to reap the benefits.
"Hopefully it will improve the flow of traffic through town, which is the main thing," she said.
"It is difficult to tell at the moment because we are still coming out of the pandemic. I just hope the new layout will bring an upturn in trade.
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"Prior to the roadworks, traffic went in fits and starts. There would be certain times when the queues were solid.
"We have always been impacted by what is happening on the A11 and that will probably continue regardless."
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A few doors down at the London Tavern pub, landlady Sam Taylor was less positive.
"I get the need for green initiatives, but this is not benefitting the community.
"The main issue has been the changes on London Road. They've widened the pavement to make a cycle path, but cyclists are still using the road.
"With the changes in the town, apart from on Surrogate Street, I don't really see what benefits they are going to bring. You are hard pressed to find any and I fail to see the purpose.
"At the pedestrianised bit to the back of Queen's Square there is now less parking, so I don't get how that has helped."
Meanwhile, Phil Leslie, the town's mayor, hoped to see Attleborough emerge from a difficult period.
"It has been really trying for the local economy with the roadworks and Covid on top. But we are hopeful now that the benefits of a new road system will be felt, particularly around Queen's Road.
"The flow of traffic around the town centre is safer and has allowed a pedestrianised area to be utilised by the community."