“It’s heartbreaking. I’ve worked hard to build this business up - now I feel like it’s crumbling around me.”
Fran Bateman is just one of many small business owners in Herefordshire telling the same story.
She has run Coco’s Café in Froomes Hill, just off the main A4103, for two years - but now she says a major resurfacing scheme is threatening to put her out of business.
- Video report by ITV News reporter Charlotte Cross:
“I was 50 per cent down on takings last week, and 70 per cent this week,” she said.
“Yesterday, we took £28 in eight hours. It’s ridiculous.”
The £8m resurfacing project to the north and west of Hereford city centre affects main roads including the A4103, which runs past the Red Lion, as well as the A465, and A438.
The A4103 is due to be closed completely from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, for two months.
Next door, at the Army and Outdoor Supplies store, Kevin Latimer is suffering a similar drop in earnings.
While the rolling closure only affects a small section of the road at a time, signs warn of road closures at either end of the 13-mile stretch, which the companies say is putting potential passing traffic off venturing down.
And they fear the work could stretch on for longer than eight weeks, as a letter from Balfour Beatty - the contractor used by Herefordshire Council - and seen by ITV News Central reveals the road surfacing used cannot be laid in bad weather conditions.
Steve Moorman and Viki Kuhlke, who run the Red Lion Pub, say they have been forced to lay off staff due to the drop in income - and now wait until the road opens again at 6pm to start the day’s trading.
“We have to keep the fryers going, the fridges going - there’s no point opening in the day as we’re spending more money than we make,” Steve said.
Viki added: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.
"To be told in a letter that they can’t put down the road surface when it’s wet or cold - so that’s dry cold as well - in England, in the autumn, seems absurd.”
In a statement, Herefordshire Council said:
Balfour Beatty Living Places spokeswoman Cassie Farrar said the surface was only affected in temperatures below 4C.