WARNING SIGNS: The town is experiencing various road restrictions at the moment.
Closure notices flagging up July 22 as the start date for brick work along the perimeter and developing the entrance off the main road proved to be premature and it was not until the first few days of this month that the big red signs were put out adjacent to the ‘action’.
At the time of writing, lots of vehicles are still heading towards town along Norwich Road and having to double back. Those of us on foot or bikes can comfortably negotiate our way to the shops past the machinery, parked trucks and dozens of cones. It cannot be by chance that this major obstruction is occurring whilst the schools are on their long summer break. One up for Aldi, say I. Had it been any other time there would have been chaos. As it is, motorists have to follow diversions to get in and out.
Those who know their local geography will naturally try to take short cuts with quiet minor roads experiencing a big increase in traffic. The Drift, for example, is almost like a rat run in both directions.
Despite recent heavy rains, I was told that everything is still on schedule for a grand supermarket opening in October, just seven months after the whole enterprise got going in mid-March. That’s some performance. The other big local development is the extension to the Kinnerton chocolate factory off Oxborough Lane. The framework for this 25,000 foot expansion has transformed the skyline but because of its location on the south side of the existing factory, there’s been little interruption to any neighbouring traffic routes. The extension, which is well on its way to completion, reflects the success of the town’s major employer and will enable the ninety or so packaging staff out at South Creake to be transferred here. Having the whole work force under one roof must be good from all points of view.
When Costa Coffee applied to the district council for planning permission to convert empty premises on Bridge Street into one of their renowned coffee shops, there were a number of local objections from those who already operate similar outlets.
Time was when there were few enough choices in Fakenham if you were looking for this kind of refreshment. Now they seem to be everywhere. In January, I suggested that if Costa got past the planning stages, life was bound to get tougher for the competition and it would be no great surprise if one or two decided to throw in the towel. Well, with the new shop due to open tomorrow[August 12], I notice that the Fair River cafe further along the same street has just closed its doors. There could be multiple reasons for this – who knows what the Costa factor might have been.
If you have been keeping your eye on the workers remodelling the former video and floristry shops this past week perhaps you have been as surprised as me at the speed of their industry. Last market day they had only just begun their task but with a big team working all hours, the transformation over such a short period has been remarkable.
The new era is about to begin.