It may have taken longer than anticipated, but the refurbishment of Sudbury’s Borehamgate Precinct is now finished.
Originally budgeted to cost £168,000, the work, which started in October and included replacing the centre’s tiles, eventually came in at £210,000.
It had been expected that the much-needed makeover would be completed by the spring but a series of delays meant the schedule over ran.
Sue Sanders, owner of Fanboo hairdressers, said she was relieved the work was over.
“The centre does look a lot better as it was very shabby before,” she said.
“I am pleased it is done because it did affect the business. Hopefully people will start being encouraged to come back now.”
A number of shops complained that they had seen a fall in trade while workers set about removing the precinct’s slippery old tiles and loud drilling took place.
Jill De’ath, manager of Milpets, said she was still feeling the affect of a drop in customers.
“I think lots of people avoided the centre due to the disruption and found a new route into the town centre,” she said. “Although the floor is a lot better and it is brighter, those people have not come back yet.”
Among the issues which pushed the refurbishment back was a two-week break over Christmas in order to help traders and problems with new benches.
Bradley Wright, manager at Marimba, said customers had commented on the improved look of the centre – built in the 1960s.
“It is a positive and people like it as it is not as slippy,” he said.
Chris Moulden, from the Local Shopping Reit Plc, which owns the precinct, said the cost had increased as they added extra work to the project.
“We decided to do a bit more while the contractors were on site as it saves money in the long run,” he said.
Mr Moulden said as well as replacing floor tiles, putting in a new ramp and railing, walls tiles had been changed and lamposts and bins replaced. He added that plans were in place to revamp the centre’s front and rear entrance in the next 12 to 18 months.
“Hopefully, people can see we have done a professional job which will benefit the centre,” he said.