Shops and restaurants forced to dump thousands of pounds worth of food after power cut in Lavenham

The Swan, Lavenham ENGANL00120120810155741
The Swan, Lavenham ENGANL00120120810155741

A faulty electricity pylon on the outskirts of Lavenham earlier this week caused chaos and disruption with hotel guests being ferried to other villages after the outage plunged the centre of the community into darkness for up to eight hours.

Local shops were affected by the supply breakdown on Monday afternoon and supermarkets and restaurants had to close and dump thousands of pounds worth of chilled food.

Not all the community was affected by the overhead power line fault, where residents reported seeing sparking, which happened in a field between Lavenham and Preston St Mary, but the stoppage hit most of the High Street.

The Angel in the historic Market Place had to divert more than a dozen guests to another hotel ten miles away in Clare. Manager Dan Goldsack said: “It seemed to affect most of the businesses in the village. We were out for five hours and guests who arrived to stay had to be dent elsewhere.

“It was difficult to keep open at all - we had no tills working because they are electronic and no phones either.”

And at the four-star Swan hotel, where rooms cost up to £200 a night, some guests opted to move after the lack of electricity affected their rooms and the restaurant. Spokeswoman for the hotel Jane Larcombe said: “We were told that the power might be off for a few hours but it was six hours before we got the supply back.

“During that time we had no phones or e-mails and guests faced the prospect of no lights or hot water or restaurant meals and were given the option of moving which some of them took.”

At No 10 wine bar staff were forced to dump £1,000-worth of food from fridges and freezers. Proprietor Joanna Knight said: “By the time the power came back on we were not able to monitor the food so it we had to throw it away . We were able to serve drinks - people paid in cash or had a tab - but by 7.30 it was just too dark and we only had emergency lighting so we closed.”

A spokeswoman for the village’s second supermarket, the East of England Co-op, confirmed that they had lost around £1,000 worth of food because of the blackout - but staff used a refrigerated truck to move much of the produce to their store in Hadleigh seven miles away.

Other businesses in the village such as Lavenham Pharmacy managed to carry on but were severely impacted by the non-working of tills and printers.

Parish council chairman Carroll Reeve said that the power cut had caused severe disruption to the village - and inconvenienced residents, tourists and local businesses.

He said some people had received automatic telephone messages from UK Power Networks advising them that there had been a breakdown in the supply but saying that workmen were on site trying to reconnect the power but it was not until late at night that the whole village had their supply back.

A spokeswoman for UK Power Networks said: “Engineers worked as quickly and as safely as possible to locate and repair a fault which affected 425 customers in Lavenham at around 3pm on Monday afternoon.

“Customers were restored to power in stages throughout the evening and the last eight properties had their electricity back at 11pm.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this incident.”