Three weeks into eight months of roadworks at the Heartsease roundabout have left the area ‘dead' due to disruption, according to upset shop owners.

The work started on September 11 and the fury of Plumstead Road business bosses has swiftly turned to worry as the reality of their desert town sinks in.  

Anne Martin, owner of Great Eastern Model Railways, which has been in place for 36 years, said: “We have seen a huge difference in footfall, more so than any of us imagined.  

“There is very little traffic on the road, drivers think the roundabout is closed so they just aren’t coming at all.  

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“It’s clear when you look at Aldi and see their usual full car park almost empty.” 

Anne said this is due to signs within a two-mile radius telling people to steer clear of the roundabout.  

“I just can’t imagine any businesses being able to survive until April 2023 without footfall.  

“We are a specialist business, so can sell online – but many shops here rely on passing trade. 

“There are some really good shops here and if people don’t come – they might lose them.” 

Anne urges anyone who previously shopped on Plumstead Road to continue to shop there to support everyone counting the days with no customers.  

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She said: “If anything it is a better time to come, there is no queues, no traffic, there are always lots of parking spaces.  

“And with Christmas so close it’s a perfect time to support small businesses.” 

Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, previously said : "We will continue to listen to any concerns being raised and work with our contractor, Tarmac, to help in any way we can. 

“Work to the roundabout is vital to improve its currently poor safety record." 

Roundabout revamp

Three arms of the Heartsease roundabout - Heartsease Lane, Plumstead Road and St Williams Way - remain open for most of the work and operate under three-way lights.

Harvey Lane, Plumstead Road East and Margetson Avenue are closed for the duration of the work, with diversions in place.

There will be a break in work between December 23 and January 3 for Christmas.

The final phase, scheduled to start from March 26, will bring a full closure of the roundabout for four weeks for carriageway surfacing and road markings.

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Norfolk County Council says that is timed to coincide with school Easter holidays to "minimise impact".

Changes being made include one-lane entry and exit, along with new pedestrian and cycle crossings.

The county council say the changes will improve safety, using £4.4m from the government's Transforming Cities Fund.