A47 diversion threatens Just Eat deliveries and jobs
PUBLISHED: 15:26 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:06 06 November 2019
Google Maps/Just Eat
A takeaway blocked by roadworks from using its fastest delivery route is having to shut early and may have to lay off staff.
Stardust Fish and Chip Shop in Hopton assumed its uniformed drivers would be allowed access via the A47 between Hopton and Gorleston as it transported orders to homes.
The stretch is closing overnight from 8pm to 6am for four weeks on weeknights for road resurfacing and safety improvements.
But for Gary Costar it could have disastrous consequences for his mainly seasonal business which relies on trade through the Just Eat app or website in the winter.
Mr Costar, 43, said he would normally open until around 11pm on a busy Tuesday when Just East runs a promotion but closed at 8.50pm after delivering just three orders, two of which were complained about because they were late and not hot enough.
"I am right opposite Hopton Holiday Village so in the summer I rely on trade from the camp. During the winter we deliver through Just East to Gorleston or Lowestoft which would normally take around 15 minutes.
"From placing your order to getting your food should be within half an hour.
"On Tuesday I had two drivers working. I assumed they would get through - but they were both turned away.
"Your food is no good after 50 minutes.
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"I am worried it is going to be like this for the next four weeks. People usually order takeaways in the evening and I have staff I do not know what to do with.
"I lost £250 last night. It is a lot of money to lose and I do not want to upset customers.
"We are only a small family business. If one lane is left open for buses and emergency vehicles I don't see the issue."
Letters from Highways England dropped on doormats last week telling people about the overnight roadworks which began on Monday.
Under the scheme the 1.3 mile stretch between the Beaufort Way and Hopton roundabouts is shut for improvement works.
The agency suggests a 28 mile diversion via Fritton and Lowestoft which according to Google maps takes an estimated 58 minutes.
Although local drivers can find shorter routes via Blundeston and Bradwell it is still too long for a service aiming to deliver hot food as quickly as possible, Mr Costar said, adding: "it's worrying as I'm going to have to lay staff off if they can't deliver."
Highways England has been contacted for a comment.