A public meeting will be held at The Bell at Selsley on Monday, June 20th, 7.30pm, following residents’ concerns over the current road closure by Gigaclear.
Bell Hill in Selsley has been closed since June 9th to allow the installation of Gigaclear’s broadband infrastructure.
Sarah Watts, owner of award-winning gastro pub, The Bell at Selsley, says her business has been impacted by the road closure: “We survived the pandemic but this has crippled us! Initially, on Wednesday 1st June, a sign was placed on Selsley Hill saying that it would be closed for one day on June 9th.
“This sign gave no indication as to what works were being carried out and who to contact for further information. Then at 5pm on Wednesday, June 8th, this sign was lifted and replaced by a sign saying that the closure was now until June 15th. This left us with no time to implement any kind of plan for our customers, suppliers or staff.
“We rely on a large element of passing trade and as a destination gastro pub people do travel to us from out of the area. Customers have sited the road closure as why they have been late or not shown up for their reservation.
“One lady phoned three times as she was fearful that the road was closed. Our local ale supplier from Uley, came the ‘long way round’ to deliver as he was told the road was closed. Delivery drivers took to carrying laundry, wine deliveries and using sack carts.
“Three staff members were told on Thursday they could not access the pub in their vehicles. Trade is down 35 per cent on the previous week. We have no exact figure for loss of passing trade, but phone calls and levels of business demonstrate the reduction of income.”
Ms Watts contacted Gigaclear and received the following email from a customer operations officer: “Thank you for your emails. I have been in discussion about this matter with our region team and our community engagement team today.
“Unfortunately we are unable to send representation to your residents meeting on Monday 20th June, due to prior commitments and short notice.
“We do understand that road closures can cause inconvenience, however they are vital for the safety of the public as well as our colleagues undertaking the work.
“All of our road closures are permitted through the local authority. We have a signposted diversion of approximately 1km in place, as well as business open as usual signs. Access to the Bell Inn’s carpark has always been maintained (including when we were trenching across the entrance) using the signed diversion route.
“In regard to compensation, we are a statutory utility company carrying out lawful work under a granted road closure. A diversion route is in place and access to the car park has been maintained. Colleagues from Gigaclear have visited premises at the start of the closure to ensure these provisions were in place. As such, we would not be offering any compensation in this instance.”
The Gigaclear representative went on to suggest any comments and concerns arising from Monday’s meeting should be emailed to their community engagement manager.
Stroud Times has contacted Gigaclear for comment.