Businesses on the Elveden Estate have revealed a ‘severe downturn’ in trade with thousands of pounds in lost business following the re-routing of the A11.
Elveden Courtyard, which includes shops and a restaurant, plus the estate’s pub and post office have seen passing trade plummet with the recently opened A11 bypass taking motorists away from the village.
In the first week of July, the Courtyard – food shop and restaurant – was down more than £10,000, while last month averaged an 18 per cent dip year on year. Takings at the Elveden Inn last week dropped 12 per cent and 6.4 per cent year-on-year for June.
To mitigate the situation, estate bosses applied for tourist signs on the A11 but this was rejected by the Highways Agency.
Frances Armstrong, marketing manager, said: “We’ve benefited enormously from passing trade in the past and this has now virtually ceased. People are simply not aware of the facilities that are available at the Elveden A11 junction as there is no sign for them.
“Under the new road layout we knew that customers would not be passing our doors anymore and would have to turn off the A11 a short distance to find us. In anticipation of this, we applied to the Highways Agency for brown tourist signs. We are highly disappointed this application was refused.”
She added that it was now ‘much easier and quicker’ to get to the estate as the route from Bury and Brandon was unchanged and there were no more ‘Elveden crossroads creating queues’. They plan to introduce their own signage in fields.
Geoff Chatfield, Highways Agency A11 project manager, said the estate did not qualify for a tourist sign under the agency’s policy. He said: “The road signs from the A11 bypass do, however, clearly signpost people to Elveden village and the shops and restaurant are straightforward to find within the village.”
He added they were ‘working hard’ to minimise effects on the business.