The future of one of Falmouth’s most popular pubs is in question after annual roadworks dealt another blow to business.

The Grapes in Church Street has been at the centre of extensive works to replace ageing power cables. The roadworks started last year and are due to finish in 2022, with phases running between January and March.

Christina Webb, the pub’s owner, said that this year was the first time the pub has made a loss since 2012.

She told the Packet: “I don’t know whether next year we’ll still be here.”

She added that barricades outside the pub’s entrance, noise from contractors and water supply issues from exposed pipes in the winter had “constantly knocked” business.

She said: “I have been frozen out, I have been barricaded in. We had posters made but people are racing to the other side of the road and don’t see them. This year it’s a different ball game because both ends [of the town] have been closed.”

The publican told the Packet that she was never consulted personally or given the opportunity to voice her fears about the works.

When approached for a response, Western Power said: “We have nothing more to add to previous comments about the need for our work.”

The utilities company has in the past attended meetings with traders and the town council, organised drop-in sessions and sent out letters to businesses and residents informing them of plans.

Screens to mitigate noise were erected around the site, but Christina said that a noise assessment inside the pub measured 93 decibels at one point – roughly as loud as a lawnmower three feet away.

Another trader, Tom Fogaty, has already moved his business, Westwood-Frame Carpets, from Church Street to Killigrew Street because of the works.

He said: “It’s a large part of why I moved. The lease came to an end where I was in Church Street and I would have automatically renewed if not for the roadworks. It nearly wiped me out the first year they did it. The roadworks were the, if you like, nail in the coffin.

“It took an awful lot of business from us last year. Most of us in the street underestimated the effect the [road] closure would have on us and combined with the M&S closure it’s had a real effect on us.”

Falmouth town manager Richard Gates has been working to help traders apply for relief on their business rates to help offset some of the impact from the roadworks.

He has said that a group needs to be formed to apply for relief from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) outlining the reasons for loss of business due to the works.

Tom has had two applications turned down so far by the VOA and is waiting to hear back on a third.

He said: “It’s a time consuming process.”

A Cornwall Council spokesman said: “Western Power Distribution was responsible for the work carried out on Falmouth high street. Any businesses who have seen a reduction in their trade as a result of the roadworks can make an appeal on their business rateable value to the valuation office."

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