Four small businesses who occupy buildings at The Old Forge, Lelant, have spoken out against Cornwall Council, saying they feel persecuted and ignored over actions in the area this summer.
The business owners have three complaints regarding recent decisions, which they say are not only detrimental to their businesses, but also a waste of public funds.
These are; the repeated removal of essential road signage encouraging passing trade; the disastrous implementation of a one-way system which has affected foot-fall; and the imminent yellow-lining of the Saltings Reach estate opposite, which will considerably reduce customer parking.
Jon Keast, owner of Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table, commented: “These actions combined are already having an impact on our businesses and staff, which will only increase once all local parking has been removed.”
He added: “We’ve voiced our concerns to Cornwall Council but have been completely ignored rather than given the opportunity to work together to find a solution, which is why we feel persecuted.”
Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table is a wine bar, deli and café; Jon Keast shares the site with The Cottage Boutique and Pure Cornwall – both offices for holiday letting agencies, and the studio of local artist Jon Tremaine; between them the businesses employ over 30 people.
Small promotional signs for several of the businesses – which were safely placed on grass verges – have been repeatedly removed by the Council, and then have to be collected from the local depot.
Jon Keast said: “We have a great local following but passing trade is really important, especially at this time of year. Without our completely harmless road-side signs, fewer people stop to grab a coffee, stock up on wine for their holiday, or take a break for lunch.”
Meanwhile Claire Gilbert, Managing Partner at The Cottage Boutique, is lamenting the changes to the road system, which are making access difficult for her and her staff:
“The one-way access to Saltings Reach causes constant congestion. We are grateful that the Council have acted by introducing a new lane up to the A30 roundabout, but the whole thing has been badly conceived and implemented and will cause ongoing issues.”
Artist Jon Tremaine added: “The sound and fumes from stationary traffic is unpleasant, and I now have to close my windows and doors in order to work.”
Just as access is becoming more difficult thanks to the removal of signs and the relentless traffic, the Council’s decision to prevent any parking in Saltings Reach opposite the site leaves the four businesses with just six parking spaces between them; the nearest alternative is a poorly lit and regularly vandalised car park and the closest free parking is over a mile away.
Jon Tremaine explained: “The Council will effectively be taking away a huge percentage of my trade by killing off local parking. They have a duty to provide an alternative; I’ve tried to engage with them and have suggested parking permits for people who work here, but have got nowhere.”
The businesses claim the money spent on removing signs, badly planned changes to the road system, and the double yellow lines, would be much better spent on public services.
Jon Keast says he continues to hope for a change in attitude: “We need the Council to work with us to find a solution to these issues. There are four successful businesses here, all contributing to the local economy throughout the year, who find themselves at the whim of these poorly thought-out decisions.”