Four small businesses who occupy buildings at The Old Forge, Lelant, have spoken out against Cornwall Council, saying they feel “persecuted and ignored” over actions in the area this summer.

The business owners have three complaints regarding recent decisions, which they say are not only detrimental to their businesses, but also a waste of public funds.

These are; the repeated removal of essential road signage encouraging passing trade; the “disastrous” implementation of a one-way system which has affected foot-fall; and the imminent yellow-lining of the Saltings Reach estate opposite, which will, they claim, considerably reduce customer parking.

Jon Keast, owner of Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table, commented: “These actions combined are already having an impact on our businesses and staff, which will only increase once all local parking has been removed.”

He added: “We’ve voiced our concerns to Cornwall Council but have been completely ignored rather than given the opportunity to work together to find a solution, which is why we feel persecuted.”

Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table is a wine bar, deli and café; Keast shares the site with The Cottage Boutique and Pure Cornwall – both offices for holiday letting agencies, and the studio of local artist Jon Tremaine. Between them the businesses employ over 30 people.

Small promotional signs for several of the businesses – which were safely placed on grass verges – have been repeatedly, claim the businesses, removed by the Council, and then have to be collected from the local depot.

Keast daid: “We have a great local following but passing trade is really important, especially at this time of year. Without our completely harmless road-side signs, fewer people stop to grab a coffee, stock up on wine for their holiday, or take a break for lunch.”

Meanwhile Claire Gilbert, managing partner at The Cottage Boutique, is lamenting the changes to the road system, which are making access difficult for her and her staff.

“The one-way access to Saltings Reach causes constant congestion,” she said. “We are grateful that the Council have acted by introducing a new lane up to the A30 roundabout, but the whole thing has been badly conceived and implemented, and will cause ongoing issues.”

In a statement sent to Business Cornwall, Cornwall Council  said: “‘No waiting’ restrictions will be implemented at Saltings Reach and on the surrounding residential roads following concerns raised by the Local Member, police and residents over obstructive and dangerous parking.

“As with any proposed changes to highway regulations, the Council has carried out consultation on this issue – in February this year and again in June following feedback on the initial proposals. The majority of those who responded to the consultation were in favour of restrictions. There is a long stay car park at the rear of Saltings Reach which has space for more than 200 vehicles and is free of charge after 6pm.

“Regarding signage on the highway, the Council has a legal duty to keep roads and footways safe and this includes dealing with obstructions such as advertising signs. We recognise that advertising boards help promote businesses, however they can cause serious problems for drivers, affecting visibility and acting as a distraction.

“Regarding the issue of the one-way system, the Council is committed to collecting further traffic data in the area and is developing a long-term solution to traffic congestion issues in the area. The feedback from the initial network review will be presented to the local councillors in mid-September 2016. No schemes have been ruled out at this time.”