‘Chaotic’ month ahead as town centre is dug up for gas works

North Walsham's town centre streets are facing a programme of major gas works. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

North Walsham's town centre streets are facing a programme of major gas works. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A market town's traffic is set to be thrown off kilter for the next four weeks amid the biggest shake up of its gas supply in decades.

And businesses in North Walsham might be in line for compensation if they lose trade due to the works, which will involve replacing gas pipes below the town centre.

A North Walsham Town Council spokesman said the main vehicle entrance to the high street - the Aylsham Road/Cromer Road/Mundesley Road junction - would be out-of-action, and traffic would be reversed.

The spokesman said: "Traffic is likely to be more chaotic in North Walsham for the next few weeks.

"Access [to the town centre] will be from Church Street only.

"During this period Market Place traffic will be reversed, entering from Church Street and exiting into Kings Arms Street."

Engineering firm Triio is carrying out the works in partnership with gas network operator Cadent.

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Triio said shops - which will be open as usual throughout the works - could claim money back if they lost out.

It said: "If you own a business in the area which you feel may have been affected by the work we need to do, you may qualify for compensation if you rely on customers visiting your business premises for usual trade to take place."

Cadent said there would be "brief" interruptions to the gas supply to properties where old pipes were being replaced. Dave Nolan, project authorising engineer, said the works would secure the town's gas until the early 22nd century.Mr Nolan said: "The new pipes will be in service until around 2100 helping ensure people continue to enjoy safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating, while also reducing the risk of disruption caused by leaks from ageing gas mains."Project designers have had to factor in the town's network of historic cellars and tunnels when drawing up their plans.This has involved digging 'old-style' trenches to minimise the proximity to any of these subterranean structures.The works programme will continue until mid-April. The final two weeks will focus on Mitre Tavern Road, but the rest of the town centre should be reopened by then.