A CAFE owner is in dispute with utility bosses over work she claims is costing her business thousands of pounds.

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Penny Bishopp, of the Tea Hut, which is on the river wall at Woodbridge, contacted Anglian Water in July last year after noticing a leak just outside her premises and close to the nearby Deben Yacht Club. Engineers were sent to investigate and dug a hole to try to locate the problem. However Miss Bishopp said the void is yet to be filled and is driving customers away.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said the work was carried out as a “gesture of goodwill” and the repair was not their responsibility because it was a private pipe belonging to Miss Bishopp and the yacht club.

But Miss Bishopp said: “The hole has been outside my premises since September. It is gushing out water into my front garden. Anglian Water has left an eyesore.

“They decided to dig the hole during one of the busiest times of the year. I’ve lost thousands in turnover due to it. People just won’t come through the mud.

“The hole is right by the public walkway for the river wall. It looks shocking and I’m sure there must be a health and safety issue. I’d just like something to be done about it.

“I don’t understand how they can dig a giant hole and then just leave it.”

Since contacting the EADT, bosses from Anglian Water have been in touch with Miss Bishopp and said they hoped to visit the premises by Friday to tidy up the area and make sure the hole is safe – although it will not be filled in.

A spokesman said they investigated the problem as a “gesture of goodwill” but the pipe was the responsibility of Miss Bishopp and the yacht club as it was on their property.

“We apologise for any confusion,” he said. “As a gesture of goodwill we made an attempt to fix the problem but as we investigated further it became apparent that the supply pipe was buried considerably deeper than we might expect.

“It started to become a bigger job and – as is standard procedure – we took a step back and advised the customer they would have to get someone to fix it. The reason the hole is still there is purely to try and save money for the people who do the repair. We left it open so the contractors could do the job, patch it up and go. We met with Miss Bishopp in December to talk through the issues and pointed out what we had done.”

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