Assington businesses report sharp decline in trade due to major roadworks
Business owners have been left on tenterhooks after noticing a sharp decline in trade, following the start of major roadworks.
A diversion is currently in place while a new drain is installed in The Street in Assington, but businesses have already been impacted during the first week of work.
Road signs directing motorists to the Assington Barn complex have been installed, but the diversion appears to have deterred customers from visiting.
Assington Farm Shop owner Maxine Gardiner, who has seen a reduction in customers, highlighted that businesses still had bills to pay.
“It’s not good for business,” she said. “We have massive overheads and business rates to pay.”
Jules Florist owner Julie Ivory echoed concerns over her expenses.
“I still have to pay rent,” she said. “I don’t have a rent reduction.”
Mrs Ivory explained that because of the nature of her business, the disruption could have a significant impact on her takings over the month-long work.
“It’s always difficult for a florist – it’s not like someone coming to a food shop,” she said.
“I’m quite new, I haven’t been going for two years and we are trying to build a business; we need all the help we can get.”
The location of the village, which is approximately four miles from Sudbury, could be contributing to the problem, according to Mrs Ivory.
“We are a bit off the beaten track,” she said. “I understand the work needs to be done, but four weeks is a long time.”
Assington Country Kitchen lost £1,000 in takings after being forced to close while work on power cables was carried out last month.
Café owner Annie Reidy is now concerned that further road work will cause another blow to the business.
“We have just had a new extension so we have to be pulling in as much trade as possible, and having a road closed is really not very good,” she said.
“It’s our livelihood. I understood these things have to be done, but to shut it for that amount of time is very disruptive.”
A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “Leading up to the drainage works, several concerns were raised by the businesses, which resulted in a meeting between Suffolk Highways, MP James Cartlidge, county councillor James Finch and Babergh district councillor Jennie Jenkins, to discuss additional ways in which we can limit disruption.
“It was agreed for three specific signs to be put in place to direct traffic to Assington Barns and, since then, following further contact from the county councillor, three more signs were put in place, one of which is situated in Bures.
“While we appreciate the inconvenience these works will cause, they are essential to stop a long-running issue with property flooding along The Street, also to prevent standing water on the highway, which causes deterioration of the carriageway.
“The work requires deep excavations on a very narrow road so it would be impossible for us to allow any sort of traffic through. Our priority is keeping the travelling public and our workforce safe.”