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Road closure has hit business - claim

PUBLISHED: 14:16 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 July 2010

THE boss of a clothing supply firm claims businesses are being seriously hindered by the continued closure of a road following a fire more than five weeks ago.

THE boss of a clothing supply firm claims businesses are being seriously hindered by the continued closure of a road following a fire more than five weeks ago.

The blaze that hit the former premises of Hawthorn Research, in Admiralty Road, Great Yarmouth, left only one badly-bowed wall standing and, because that has been declared a dangerous structure, Battery Road, which it overlooks, cannot reopen until it has been demolished.

Chris Ashdown, managing director of Internet Workwear, said the closure of the road at its Admiralty Road end had effectively turned it into a cul-de-sac only accessible from Swanston Road. “It has created a real bottleneck. This is a busy industrial area. We have four major delivery firms bringing us and taking away supplies on a daily basis and other firms, including British Metal Treatments, also have a lot of deliveries,” he said.

“Articulated lorries have to reverse down the narrow road and often find their way blocked. Sometimes they have to unload the parcels and carry them to us along the last bit of the road.” He pointed out the dangers of vehicles reversing and said the side of at least one car had been scraped.

Mr Ashdown, who has expanded his business since moving it from his home in Ormesby in 2005, said each time he had inquired when the dangerous wall would be demolished, he had faced a wall of bureaucracy.

“When I ring the county council - the highways' authority - they refer me to the borough council and they in turn refer me to the police who carried out the original road closure. No one is accepting responsibility for knocking it down,” he said, adding that the base of the wall was littered with asbestos fragments that could not be cleared on safety grounds until the wall had been demolished.

A spokesman for the borough council said it was in contact with the site owner through his estate agent and awaited details from him about the insurance company's plan of action and timetable. “By ensuring public safety we have done all we are allowed to do under the Building Act, but accept that longer-term closure of the road will be very inconvenient, and we will need to take legal advice if the insurance company doesn't take action soon,” she said.

A county council spokesman said it could not repair and reopen the road until the wall had been dealt with.

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