Theberton: Landlady of the Lion Inn raises concerns over roadworks

Landlords Caroline and Michael Jeffery claim trade has suffered since roadworks started outside the

Landlords Caroline and Michael Jeffery claim trade has suffered since roadworks started outside the pub at the beginning of the week.They say the workers are stopping people from visiting the pub. - Credit: Archant

A LANDLADY claims her pub is like the “Marie Celeste” because of roadworks disrupting trade.

Caroline Jeffery, who runs the Lion Inn and village shop at Theberton, near Leiston, with her husband, Michael, says business has been severely affected by the work, which started on Monday and is expected to last five days.

The road strengthening along the B1122, funded by EDF Energy as part of its plans to build a dry fuel store at Sizewell B, is being carried out by contractors on behalf of Suffolk County Council’s (SCC) highways department.

Mr and Mrs Jeffery, who have been at the Lion Inn for seven years, claim workmen have been turning customers away even though signs are up saying “business as usual”.

This has been disputed by the county council, which says motorists have been let through or sent on a diversion around the village to gain access.

But Mrs Jeffery said: “We had a letter through the door to say the works wouldn’t interfere with trade and it was ‘business as usual’. But that’s not been the case.

“The workmen are supposed to let people through if they say they are coming to the pub. However they’ve been turning people away. Our chef arrived the other day and he had go around the village.

Most Read

“It’s like the Marie Celeste. We haven’t seen anyone. It’s hard enough being a rural business and trying to make ends meet.

“If we had been told this at the beginning, I would have asked our staff to take holiday this week. It’s also been disrupting my deliveries. I’ve had to make several phone calls to finally get them through.”

A spokeswoman for SCC said: “The county council’s highways team is carrying out necessary resurfacing work on the B1122 between Yoxford and Theberton, as specified in correspondence with local residents and businesses.

“The programme is due to finish on time and we have ensured that ‘business open as usual’ signs are displayed with operatives on site to allow access when required in order to alleviate any potential disruption to local businesses.”

A spokeswoman for EDF said it had given almost £200,000 to SCC to improve the road surface.

“EDF Energy was sorry to hear the concerns that the owners of the Lion Inn raised about the road works,” she added. “ We have raised the concerns as a matter of urgency with the highways authority, which is in contact with the pub landlady.”