The Fisherman’s Cottage Pub says it has “no customers, no money coming in” due to council works - Paul Childs Keller Williams


A PUB in east Reading says business is unsustainable as owners claim essential works have had a drastic impact on numbers of customers.

The Fisherman’s Cottage, Kennetside, has seen a significant reduction in customers, owners say, due to necessary works undertaken by Reading Borough Council on the path which crosses in front of the pub.

The reduction has seen fewer customers, leading to the business letting three members of staff go due to financial difficulty.

Owner Ms Atkins says that most customers at the pub are walk-ins from the Kennetside footpath, which leads from central Reading through Newtown along the River Kennet, which was blocked due to necessary works.

One of the owners, Cigdem Atkins, said: “They closed the whole walking area which leads to Sonning, giving us two weeks’ notice.

“We’re out of the town centre, so we do rely on walk-in customers who walk their dogs and cycle that route, in fact we survive through them.”

But she says that footfall has been drastically reduced as a result of the works on the footpath which runs along the Kennet.

“The works have blocked the whole path, but none of the work has been done, and they say that the works will continue to Christmas.”

Reading Borough Council said that vital works to fix the Kennetside path have to be done to keep the path from being unusable.
Owners of the Fisherman’s Cottage fear that works scheduled to last until Christmas could mean going out of business

She also says that she has tried multiple times to contact the council with regards to finding a solution: “I’ve tried calling, emailing, messaging through social media, but they always kept saying that someone would get back to me, but they never did.

“I’m not sure they’re even going to finish before Christmas, which means we will have basically no trade until after Christmas, and we’re already using our savings to keep the business going.”

A Reading Borough Council spokesperson said: “The work taking place on Kennetside currently is part of an ongoing and critical programme of work to strengthen and stabilise the riverside retaining wall and ensure properties along it continue to be protected for the future.

“Additionally, this work supports the national cycle route running along its length. Users and residents will recall the numerous holes that form along the older sections of this strategic pedestrian and cycle path, requiring urgent repairs to keep the route open and safe.

“Without this essential work this section of the canal path would be deemed impassable.”

They explained: “The current phase (phase 6) will run until just before Christmas, however the pedestrian and cycle diversion in place for this does not begin until approximately 300m beyond the Fisherman’s Cottage (going east towards the Thames) which means those following the diversion plan in both directions still need to pass the pub.

“A short trial for the next phase of works (phase 7) also took place from 18 to 20 September with a short stretch of footway closed between the pub and Reading town centre – this was for three days only, with a diversion in place which still took users past the pub.”

They continued: “While we appreciate the obvious and temporary inconvenience, no compensation is available where a highway authority carries out statutory works.

“However, ensuring access remains to businesses is a priority to the Council and we will be visiting the pub next week to discuss their issues”

Cigdem Atkins (right) said she had tried multiple times to contact Reading Borough Council to discuss how the works were affecting business, but had no meaningful response.