‘Chaotic’ gas mains replacement works in Bury St Edmunds town centre have been criticised
Cadent has been replacing ageing mains in St Andrew’s Street South since June, with the work scheduled to last until November.
But workers have been accused of smoking despite their own ‘no smoking signs’ to the contrary, while deep trenches, safety fences, barriers and works vehicles have cluttered the street.
Mark Cordell, of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “It is absolutely chaotic. There is only a small number of businesses which trade on to the street, but those businesses have all been hugely affected.
“If the work has got to be done, it’s got to be done, but it could have been done in a more customer-friendly way.”
He said he feared the the works moving to the other end of St Andrew’s Street South would lead to other businesses suffering.
“Their intention is to finish in November and be gone before the Christmas Fayre and festive trading and I can only hope that that is what happens,” said Mr Cordell.
“Myself and our businesses want them to get it done and go away so the businesses can try to make up for the losses they have suffered while the work has been going on.”
Tom Murray, Bury town councillor, described the situation as ‘outrageous’ and was critical of the extent of barriers on each side of the street.
“Some of the gaps they have left there is barely room for people to get by on the pavements,” he said.
“Crossing the road is a nightmare outside the LP and there is so much equipment in the street it could be dangerous. The gas works have to be done but there seems to be a lack of urgency.”
Mr Murray added he had been shocked to see workers smoking alongside numerous signs saying otherwise.
A Cadent spokesman said: "The safety of both the public and our workforce is very important. Smoking is not permitted within gas mains replacement excavation work sites and any breaches of this policy will be investigated.
"We’re sorry for any disruption people may be experiencing as a result of this essential project and people can rest assured we are doing all we can to deliver the work with as little inconvenience as possible."
He said the work was ahead of schedule, with phase two (between the junctions with Woolhall Street and Parkway) set to start later this month and that the site would be cleared before the Food and Drink Festival next weekend to minimise disruption.