A PUB owner in Rockbourne says he has lost bookings after a road closure was put in place.

Chris Chester-Sterne, who runs the Rose and Thistle pub, says he only became aware of the closure after seeing signs appear at the end of the road.

The closure is in place on Rockbourne Road from the Sandleheath junction to the A354 turning until August 21 to build two new full fibre broadband structures as part of the Hampshire Superfast Broadband programme.

He said: “The signs at the end of the road went up a week before but there has been no communication to us at all as a business. It’s only because I went and found the site manager on the morning they started the work that we actually got told this information. That is what is most frustrating.

“I know these things are planned well in advance you would think someone would think there are businesses along there we need to communicate with them what is going on so they can communicate to their customers.”

He says that although access to businesses remain the signs are causing “quite a lot of confusion” with customers unsure whether they can still drive down the road.

“On the first day last week we had three tables phone up and cancel saying ‘we can’t get to you’. I said you can drive through but they didn’t want to risk it, which is extremely frustrating obviously after being in lockdown for such a long time and this should be our busiest month,” said Chris who says they have had a couple of other people cancel bookings.

“Give them their due they are letting people through. But it is that confusion that seems to be putting people off,” he added. “We’ve ended up making some signs to stick up at the end of the road - Rose and Thistle Open, access allowed to encourage people to come through.”

“We are trying to make up for almost four months of closure. In a way any amount of business we get isn’t going to cover it but we need to get as much as we can. We are not seeing the passing through traffic at the weekends.”

An Openreach spokesperson said: “Traffic management is currently in place on the Rockbourne Road as our contractors, Morrisons build two new full fibre broadband structures as part of the Hampshire Superfast Broadband programme.

"We worked with Hampshire County Council’s Highways department to comply with all traffic management requirements including advance signage on July 20 and a letter drop to all homes and businesses in the area on the same day.

"We also pinned the letter to the local community notice board. ‘Businesses open as usual’ signs are also in place. We know that the diversion is frustrating but when we’re finished, 40 homes and businesses in Rockbourne will be able to access ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband which will really help with things like home-working and home-schooling in the months and years ahead.”

Councillor Rob Humby, the deputy leader of Hampshire County Council and executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “Those carrying out work on the highway are responsible for communicating with local residents, businesses and the appropriate local authorities about their works, which in this case would be BT.

"In this case a condition of the works permit was for BT to letter drop the residents and businesses in the road closure area and set up “Business Open as Usual” signs at the closure points where the BT works are taking place. The best way to keep informed of current and upcoming works would be through one.network. https://one.network/?114374653."