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Eton shop owners concerned about impact of High Street gas works

Traders have expressed concern about gas works which will cause traffic disruption in Eton High Street for five months.

The High Street is expected to close from Windsor Bridge to the junction with Eton Court for the first 10 to 12 weeks of the works, starting on Monday, February 3.

This is to allow Cadent Gas engineers to replace gas pipes under the road which, it says, will not need replacing again for at least 80 years.

Phase two of the project will then see two-way traffic management in place from Eton Court to Eton College for between eight and 10 weeks.

The entire project is expected to last 20 to 22 weeks, and has raised fears over trade for some of the town’s shopkeepers.

“Eton already has low footfall and this will definitely be tough on all of us,” said Enza Varsalona, co-owner of Nimia, a coffee shop in Eton High Street.

“It could work both ways for us as a coffee shop.

“It could increase footfall as you won’t be able to drive through but, likewise, it could deter people from coming into Eton.”

She added: “Who knows for sure what will happen, but we hope there will be plenty of signage to say the high street is open for business as usual.”

Kasia Garniew, store manager at Costa Coffee in the High Street, said: “I am worried about our deliveries which will find it hard to access the cafe without driving.”

Alex Sage, owner of Zero 3 diner, said: “It will affect business to a small extent as cars still drive down.”

He added: “It’s small but will affect us. We get tradesmen who come in vans from surrounding areas who will not be able to park up.”

A public drop-in event will be held on Thursday, January 16 at the Eton Parish Council building at 102 High Street from 6pm-8pm.

Antony Quarrell, press officer at Cadent Gas, said:  “It’s essential that Cadent carry out this work but we are working hard to ensure we deliver it with as little disruption as possible.

“We carefully planned the project in close discussion with the local authorities to agree the best time to carry out the work.

“We’ve also written to residents and businesses regarding the work and are holding a public information event to ensure that people are aware of the work and can raise any questions or concerns.

“Small businesses, which rely on people being able to visit their premises to carry out normal trade, may be eligible for compensation regarding planned work, providing certain criteria are met.”

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