Work on refurbishing Sudbury’s Borehamgate Precinct, which has been dogged by setbacks and complaints, has been suspended.
Contractors carrying out the main phase of the £168,000 makeover, which will see floor tiles replaced with non-slip stone slabs and a new ramp and steps built, downed tools on Monday.
A handful of workmen have remained to continue painting some of the walls.
Businesses in the centre, which have claimed the revamp has resulted in a decline in trade, have been told work will recommence in the new year. It is hoped the decision to break now – instead of from December 22 as planned – will help Christmas trade.
Jill De’ath, manager of Milpets pet shop, said she thought the move would boost takings during the year’s busiest period.
“It can’t do any harm,” said Mrs De’ath, who claimed to have lost up to 50 customers in a single day as a result of the disruption.
“It seems to have been going on for ever, but it has been getting slightly better as people get used to what’s going on.
“Hopefully trade will come back for Christmas, and January is normally quiet, so the workmen can go all guns blazing in the new year to get it done.”
Work on the precinct began in October after initially being scheduled to start in the summer. A date in mid-February had been earmarked for its completion.
However, with the project being suspended two weeks earlier than planned, this date may be revised.
“You would have thought they would carry on and get it done quicker,” said David Swain, deputy manager at Coral.
“It seems like a massive schedule to get it all done.”
Work is expected to resume on January 3.