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FIRE UPDATE: Town ready for market day

Staff at the White Diamond Beauty Salon in Friars Street wrote a message to the heroic firefighters that saved their store. ANL-150909-161737001
Staff at the White Diamond Beauty Salon in Friars Street wrote a message to the heroic firefighters that saved their store. ANL-150909-161737001

The message is loud and clear, ‘Sudbury is open for businesses, please come and support the town’.

With the opening up of the pathway from Market Hill to Friars Street later today, Babergh District Council is hoping shoppers will again flood into the town for the traditional Thursday market and visit shops down Friars Street which have been shut off by the road closure following the fire on Sunday evening.

Wooden barriers have been put up to protect pedestrians, however the road at the junction between Market Hill and Friars Street will remain closed.

The barriers will allow Pizza Express to reopen and allow residents from the flats above to return to their homes.

Work to remove the chimney and other unsafe parts of the building above Cobblers and Keys will continue tomorrow, while work is being done to conserve as many of the original materials as possible from the wreckage of the listed buildings.

Apart from the Coffee Shop which hopes to reopen next week, all of the businesses in Gainsborough Street have reopened while Babergh District Council is working with Oxfam, Celebrities Nails and Cobblers and Keys to find them alternative premises to return to trading.

Javelin already has alternative premises in the town.

HSBC remains shut, with a temporary banking unit not expected to arrive for at least a week.

A spokesman for Babergh said: “Getting the footpath open is the big message.

“Hopefully it will boost Pizza Express and the businesses down Friars Street.”

A fire crew will remain on scene as a precaution tonight and tomorrow, while police remain to secure the scene as investigations continue, however there is still no evidence of any suspicious circumstances.

Fire safety officers will be at the market tomorrow to give support and advice to residents.

The community has continued to offer tremendous support, with donations of cash and of clothing pouring in to a variety of collectors in the town centre. For those wishing to make a donation, Sudbury Town Hall is accepting cash donations to help those affected by the fire, which can be delivered to the Town Hall’s front desk accessible on Gaol Lane.

While all of those who have been unable to return to their homes have been found temporary accommodation, Babergh District Council is now considering the longer term, especially for those whose homes have been destroyed. The Council is appealing for private landlords who own property in Sudbury to contact their homelessness team on 01473 825757, who may be able to put them in contact with residents looking for alternative properties.

Those affected by the fire will all be eligible for the Council’s Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Simon Barrett, Babergh District Council member for Sudbury and vice chairman of Babergh’s Strategy Committee, said: “The response from the Sudbury community has been incredible, with offers of everything from clothing to spare rooms.

“All the donations will help make the lives of those affected slightly easier. Now that everyone who needs short term accommodation has found it, we’re beginning to think about the long term and how we can make sure Sudbury remains open for business, continuing to deliver the goods and services the community needs.”

At Tuesday night’s town council meeting an emotional Mr Barrett added: “This has shown what the town can achieve when it is in a moment of crisis.”

He praised the role of the town council officers and councillors and hailed the importance of the Town Hall as a place to bring people together, having acted as the central hub during the week.

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