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Gas mains replacement works a 'surprise' to Bury St Edmunds town centre businesses

A major scheme to replace ageing gas mains in Bury St Edmunds town centre has come under fire.

The works, described by gas distribution company Cadent as an essential project to ‘help ensure local community remain connected to safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating’, could continue in St Andrew’s Street South until November.

Phase one of the work is already under way, with traffic lights in operation between Risbygate Street and Woolhall Street from 6am to 6pm.

After the completion of phase one in August, the works will move to the section of road running to Parkway, when road closures and traffic lights will be in operation.

Colin Roberts, Arc centre manager, was critical of Cadent’s communication, describing the works as a ‘surprise’.

“Normally we are informed of any major upheaval, but there was no notification from anyone and they rocked up last Monday and started tearing everything apart,” he said.

“It looks unplanned and as though they are attacking everything – it looks a mess.

“The buses are now being redirected and that must be making life more difficult for some people, particularly the elderly who get their prescriptions from Boots.

“Whether it will affect our businesses long term is difficult to tell.”

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said he had also been unaware of the works.

“No one is suggesting the work shouldn’t be done, but why couldn’t it have been planned better? I’m disappointed businesses and residents were not made aware," he said.

“It seems there’s been a blatant disregard and they’ve just decided to do it.”

He added it was ‘imperative’ the work finished ahead of the festive trading period and Christmas Fayre.

Vince Doggett, Cadent authorising engineer, said: “We’ve carefully planned our work to ensure that it’s delivered with as little disruption as possible.

“Our preparations have included close discussions with the local authorities.”

A Suffolk Highways spokeswoman said utility companies had up to six months to return the road surface to its original state.

For more information,call Cadent on 0800 096 5678.

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