‘A real kick in the teeth’ - Zaks owner slams ‘chaotic’ roadworks near restaurant site

Ian Hacon and Chris Carr who run Zaks. Pic: Archant

Ian Hacon and Chris Carr who run Zaks. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

The boss of one of Norwich’s longest running restaurants has slammed “chaotic” roadworks which he said had caused day time business to plummet.

Work to resurface the B1332 main road through Poringland began on Saturday and is expected to last five weeks.

But the £750,000 scheme, which will see the road closed during the day on weekdays, has attracted fierce criticism from Chris Carr, the co-owner of Zaks, which has an outlet in the village.

He said there is a lack of clear signs advertising that businesses will remain open and, as a result, there had been a “significant drop” in customers dining during the day - though council bosses say more signs are now being added.

Mr Carr added: “We normally get a lot of passing trade but at the moment there is none. At the moment, our customers are literally the people who are in the know.

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“We’ve also been taking constant phone calls from customers who are lost or confused as they don’t know how to access us, as well as people just not showing up.

“It’s been causing chaos in the village and for other businesses. It is not clear what is going on.”

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The timing of the roadworks, which started less than a month after restaurants were able to reopen for the first time since lockdown, has also come as a “major blow” for Mr Carr.

He said: “It has been a really testing and challenging time over the last few months due to coronavirus and having roadworks for five weeks will be incredibly disruptive.

“We are not ones to complain or moan, and we look to solve problems not make them, but this has come as a real kick in the teeth.

“I’ve even been out today and made my own banners advertising that we are open.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: “The planned work, that’s being carried out in stages, is progressing well, with the one weekend of work successfully completed, and the section of work outside the row of shops opposite the church should be complete this week.

“A fully signed official diversion route is in place, along roads of the same or higher classification. The team on site are making sure access is available to homes and businesses within the closure, and are on hand to provide help and directions where necessary. And following feedback we are adding more businesses open as usual signs.”

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