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Beccles road reopens to cheers

PUBLISHED: 10:49 14 January 2011

A BECCLES road which had been closed for almost four months after a large hole opened beneath a building has reopened.

Traders welcomed the news as some had expressed concerns that the closure of Blyburgate was hitting businesses hard.

The hole, which was about 12 feet wide, appeared outside Pennington Opticians at the end of September following heavy rain.

The road was closed while investigations were carried out and structural work undertaken.

Traders spoke of their anger saying the road closure was having a “horrendous” impact on businesses.

One estimated that local businesses had lost a quarter of a million pounds in turnover as a result.

Waveney District Council moved to boost trade by suspending parking charges at Blyburgate car park in a bid to draw shoppers to the area. But free parking finished at the end of last month and, because of the VAT increase, the rates have increased.

Diane Wells, who owns One Step Back antiques in Exchange Square, said: “It is great news the road has opened again and it will be good to get back to normal.”

However, she said she did not think many people were yet aware the road had reopened.

Sue Lanham, of the Waveney branch of the Cats Protection charity in Blyburgate, said: “It is good news. We have certainly been a bit busier but I don’t know whether the road reopening has anything to do with it.”

Jo Sutherland, owner of The Marmalade Tree in Blyburgate, said: “We are absolutely delighted the road has reopened and will give our customers easier access.”

She added that customers said they missed the free parking.

A Waveney District Council spokesman confirmed that free parking at Blyburgate finished at the end of December and, because of the VAT increase, car parking rates had increased by 5p. This includes Blyburgate car park.

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee said: “We felt it was important to encourage shoppers to come into the town centre while the structural repair work was carried out, and we continued to suspend parking fees up until January in order to give traders an extra boost in the run-up to Christmas.

“I am delighted that the road has now reopened and visitors are easily able to ‘shop local’ in Blyburgate.”

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