Downham Market traders hit out over roadworks

Resurfacing work near the Town Square at Downham Market ANL-160803-165315009
Resurfacing work near the Town Square at Downham Market ANL-160803-165315009
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Traders in Downham have been hit by a new wave of roadworks.

Shopkeepers in the town centre were hoping to get back to normal after three weeks of re-surfacing work by Norfolk County Council.

But on Monday the town was hit by a further set back when Network Rail closed the level crossing in Railway Road.

Traders are also unhappy that no advanced warning was given about the work, though rail bosses say notice was given.

Simon Prior, of Framing Arts, said the roadworks have had an impact on the town centre.

He said: “The last couple of weeks have been quiet in town. It has been difficult for shoppers knowing what is open and what isn’t for the last three weeks. It has been nearly a month of roadworks.

“The re-surfacing work had to be done, we understand that and there is never going to be a good time for it.

“But when they close roads on a Friday that is difficult as it is a market day, which is the busiest day for the town centre.

“We did not even know this latest work was going to happen as there has been no communication from Network Rail.”

The county council’s £250,000 resurfacing project ran two days in finishing due to issues with the weather.

But some of the re-surfaced section in Bridge Street is due to be dug up by Anglian Water next week to repair a water main.

But Network Rail says it sent letters to people within a 200 metre radius of the crossing.

A spokesman said: “We are carrying out essential work as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to renew the level crossing at Downham which will improve reliability and make it safer.

“We understand that closing the crossing to traffic can be inconvenient for motorists and we always try to avoid this where possible.

“However, in this instance, the nature of the work we are carrying out means a closure to traffic is necessary. A diversion is in place to help people reach the town centre without using the crossing.”