Business owners in West Wycombe have resigned themselves to a loss of footfall this summer as the National Trust begins eight weeks of roadworks in the village.

The heritage conservation charity began work on seven properties on West Wycombe High Street on Monday, July 8, with a parking restriction, barriers and temporary traffic lights expected to remain in place until September 2.

Amit Sisodia, manager of The Apple Orchard café, told the Free Press in June that he “didn’t understand” the timing of the work, which kicks off at the busiest time of the year for his small business.

Mr Sisodia, whose café is the largest employer in the village, said he was worried people would be put off visiting the area by the scaffolding and traffic build-up generated by the project. 

He is hoping to offset any "very serious" losses by reimbursing customers for their parking costs from July 8 onwards. 

Adding: “It’s a difficult time to run a business now as it is – even one bad day can have a real impact.”

A staff member at Troutts Butchers, a family-run shop that has been in West Wycombe for over 60 years, said the main impact of the work – since it started yesterday – had been on customer parking.

They said: “It’s got to be done – there’s not much we can do about it. When you’re in a National Trust village, you’ve got to play ball, and I can appreciate that the Trust have to do this if they want to rent out houses on the High Street.

“We’ve been told they might be done before the eight-week deadline, so I just hope they get cracking, and it doesn’t last too long. At least traffic hasn’t been a major problem so far. When there’s been a crash on the motorway, the village can get gridlocked, and we haven’t seen any of that. The guys on the lights are doing a great job.”

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West Wycombe became the first-ever National Trust village in 1934 and is described on the charity’s website as “of huge historical value” with many buildings that date back to the 16th and 18th centuries.

A spokesperson said: “The National Trust has a responsibility to ensure that we keep the buildings we look after in good repair and condition for our tenants.

“We are undertaking external repairs and decoration to several properties along the High Street in West Wycombe and the only way to access these properties is by scaffold.

“This in turn requires traffic management for the safety of contractors and to ensure traffic continues to run smoothly through the village.

“Alternative parking has been arranged for residents and there are other parking options for visitors to the village. Pedestrians can access all the village properties and businesses undergoing works.”

West Wycombe Parish Council has offered the burial ground car park behind St Paul’s Church as alternative parking during the eight weeks, though residents will need to move their vehicles during funeral bookings.