The new owner of The Vine in Hannington, Paul Lee, contacted his local MP when he discovered that road closures by BT threatened his business.
"Paul Lee bought the pub about nine months ago, and has been building up the business. All village pubs have had a rough time recently, with Foot and Mouth and the downturn in tourism, but Paul was doing well. However the bulk of his business comes to the village from the A339, and that access road is now closed for much of the time by BT, who are installing new cables for the village. This has knocked out up to three quarters of his business."
"No one objects to Hannington getting a better telecommunication service, but the way the road closures have been managed is doing unnecessary damage to the Vine. The signs are not in the right places, leading to unnecessary travel by his customers; the road has been closed on a Saturday, in apparent breach of the road closure order. And now there is a possibility that the work will overrun, and the closures during working hours during the week may go on until towards the end of the month. This is quite unacceptable. I am in touch with BT and Basingstoke and Deane to see if we can minimise the disruption and get signs in the right place."
“Village pubs are an important part of life in the countryside; they shouldn’t have to cope with unnecessary burdens.”
[After note: Far from being closed, The Vine passed into new ownership in January 2003 and very much 'in business'!