Road closure will disrupt Clare businesses

Sarah and Alaric Pugh in the Market Place in Clare ANL-150403-100914001
Sarah and Alaric Pugh in the Market Place in Clare ANL-150403-100914001

Questions have been raised over the sense of closing a main road into a popular tourist attraction during the summer holidays.

The A1092 between Cavendish and Clare is likely to close for seven weeks while engineers from National Grid replace a network of gas pipes.

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The road is the main route into Clare from Sudbury and Long Melford and a total closure would likely see a long diversion on minor roads through the villages of Pentlow Hill and Hickford Hill.

“It’s going to be devastating,” said Sarah Pugh, who runs Sea Pictures Gallery in Clare with her husband Alaric.

“Where does the Haverhill to Sudbury bus service go, and will a double decker lorry go wandering around the back roads?”

Mrs Pugh said there were many unanswered questions about the closure and the impact it would have on residents and businesses in Clare, Cavendish and other surrounding villages, especially in an area popular with tourists.

She questioned how lorries from the Philips Avent factory in Glemsford would cope, and whether it would be accessible to emergency service vehicles.

“It’s the lack of concrete information,” she said. “Everyone knows it’s coming, it’s just when, where and how long for.

“If we know what the issues are, we can plan. But if you don’t know, then it’s impossible.

“I change my shows every six weeks. I advertise weeks in advance. Do I bother advertising if I know nobody’s going to come?”

A spokeswoman for National Grid said there was planned work for the road in the summer, which was likely to see it closed for seven weeks, but said this had not yet been confirmed.

She added that as soon as there was confirmation, residents and businesses would be contacted and a public information event held.

County and parish councillors have been alerted to the probable closure, however, Mrs Pugh said a lack of information was leading to widespread hearsay in the community.

The spokeswoman said the work would see new pipes laid which should last for at least 80 years.