Thursday, 28 October 2021

Cafe owner says flooding is driving away customers

A CAFE owner says her customers are being put off by flooding outside her business.

A CAFE owner says her customers are being put off by flooding outside her business.

Debbie Fleming, who opened Flemings in Wood Lane last month, has had to put up with several large puddles on the forecourt due to a burst pipe.

She has complained to Thames Water but says the company has been slow to respond.

Ms Fleming said: “They’ve said they will make fixing it a priority but it is now two months since we first complained.

“There’s quite a lot of elderly people around here and they can’t get through because the water is quite deep.

“I’m frightened that there could be a cold snap and the water freezes, so people end up on their bottoms.

“It’s also a problem for mums with babies because their prams could get stuck.”

Ms Fleming, who lives in Shiplake Bottom, said she first contacted Thames Water after taking over the lease of the former Fresh As A Daisy café in August.

She said the company set a deadline for when it would send out a member of staff but this only happened on the last day after she called again.

A Thames Water representative visited last month and told her the work would be categorised as a priority but she has heard nothing since.

Ms Fleming said the flooding was getting worse as the water was eroding the asphalt surface of the forecourt.

“Even when the weather has been dry this area has been flooded,” she said. Ms Fleming said the problem had hampered the launch of her business after she refurbished the café.

“I’m just trying to quicken things up,” she said. “This is a new business and the water stopping people from getting into my shop. With new businesses you’ve got to set the tone early and this hasn’t helped.”

Parish clerk Philip Collings has also reported the problem to Thames Water. He said the flooding undermined the efforts of the Village Gardeners, a voluntary group that has helped to tidy up the village centre.

He said: “It’s obviously not a major leak but I suspect the water is washing the ground away. The big question is who’s going to make good when they do repair it because the whole front is not in good shape.”

One Stop shop, which is next door to the café, carried out repairs to its forecourt last year after a request by the parish council but the asphalt began cracking again.

A Thames Water spokesman said: “Engineers visited the property and found a leak on the private pipes that belong to the property. We have contacted the landlord and are arranging to help fix their broken pipe.”

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