Business owner fears for future as four month road closure announced in village

Jake Willgress has urged people to keep visiting Church Farm shop in Hethersett, despite extensive roadworks. Photo: Bethany Wales

Jake Willgress has urged people to keep visiting Church Farm shop in Hethersett, despite extensive roadworks. Photo: Bethany Wales

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A village which has already seen more than 100 sets of roadworks since 2017 faces another six months of disruption, as work continues to improve cycle routes in the area.

ShareNorwich Road in Hethersett is operating under a three way traffic light system due to roadworks.
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pPhoto: Bethany WalesNorwich Road in Hethersett is operating under a three way traffic light system due to roadworks. Photo: Bethany Wales

For the people of Hethersett, road closures, temporary traffic lights and diversions have become an inconvenient norm. The village, near Norwich, has been hit with 107 sets of roadworks in the past two years, and people living nearby say they have barely gone three weeks without some kind of work taking place.

Next month, the final phase of the project behind the disruption is set to begin, with four months of work scheduled to commence on Thursday, February 6. READ MORE: With 107 jobs in 18 months, is this Norfolk's most roadworks-hit village? Two road closures and a set of temporary traffic lights will be in place as contractors lay 0.8 km of new cycle path alongside the B1172, and resurface a 0.5 km section of the route which was completed last year.

People in Hethersett said customers are avoiding the village due to roadworks on Norwich Road.
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pPhoto: Linda WilgressPeople in Hethersett said customers are avoiding the village due to roadworks on Norwich Road. Photo: Linda Wilgress

The work is part of Norfolk County Council's Transforming Cities project, which is billed to cycle and pedestrian transport links between Norwich and the surrounding area.

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Although many have praised the council for its commitment to green transport, those living in Hethersett said the ongoing disruption was not only an inconvenience, but also putting serious strain on local businesses. During the last phase of work, Church Farm shop on Norwich Road experienced a sharp decline in custom, due to long queues caused by temporary traffic lights directly outside the shop.

Owner Jake Willgress said he feared what impact four more months of disruption would have on the business. He said: "We've been busy since the last roadworks cleared, but we are not looking forward to the next set. It's been a real financial struggle, very hard work.

Obviously, the roadworks need doing but it's very hard for us to take. The sooner we are back to normal the better." As well as the planned road closures at the junctions of Norwich Road, a new bus lay by will be installed adjacent to the Churchfield junction.

Resurfacing work will also be carried out between the junctions of Norwich Road.

Norfolk County Council has not set an exact completion date, but said it expected the work to be finished by May 2020.

READ MORE: Shoppers urged not to abandon village shop during 10 week roadworks

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