BUSINESS and community figures in a village badly affected by engineering work and road closures have pleaded with an energy firm to give them a helping hand.

There’s a sign on the wall in the Royal Exchange advertising a happy hour - but the mood inside the Lindford pub hasn’t been exactly jovial recently.

January and February are usually quiet months, but having roadworks outside the front door haven’t helped things.

It’s this scenario which has prompted Michael Grant and other villagers to rally for their struggling pub and shops. If compensation for the massive loss of trade is out of the question – which it is – then maybe SSEN could make a goodwill gesture, like sponsoring the summer fair.

Amy Pieri, who has taken on the tenancy from new owners Brakspear, likes the idea, but isn’t hopeful.

She said: “All these guys doing the work out here are great and I haven’t got a bone to pick with them.

“There’s just been no communication. It’s a lovely idea that the community is supporting us and they want SSEN to perhaps sponsor the fair but I’m not hopeful.”

Sheetal Sisodiva of the nearby Spar shares her view. The store is losing a four-figure sum a week because of the roadworks on Liphook Road.

She said: “We’re part of the Spar brand but we’re independent, so we have to take this on the chin. We’ve still got running costs and those don’t change, so we’re just hoping we weather this storm.”

Ron Ruttle, of Lindford Parish Council, likes the idea of SSEN making a goodwill gesture and sponsorship of the fete has been mooted with early talks taking place.

He feels it might be in the firm’s entrance, especially as a few grievances were raised last week during an SSEN drop-in event at The Shed.

A spokesperson for SSEN defended their communication with villagers and said last Wednesday’s drop-in event was the sixth event of its kind.

They added that they have sponsored a minibus service between Alton and Whitehill as a gesture of goodwill, but hinted at further talks.

They said: “SSEN has worked to communicate with local residents and businesses throughout the ongoing works and in the months leading up to them.

“The works in Lindford were promoted across two advanced works notices by post to homes and businesses in early November 2023 to 10,829 addresses and early January 2024 to 11,477 addresses. Councils were also sent a digital copy, as part of a briefing pack, on both occasions.

“The community drop-in event hosted on 7 February 2024, is the sixth event held as part of the project’s community engagement and was advertised in the advance works notice delivered in early January 2024 and on the project webpage.

“As a gesture of goodwill, SSEN has sponsored a bus replacement service to reach communities cut off by the closure of the B3004 between Alton and Bordon. It serves all stops the number 13 service would usually stop at and is completely free-of-charge.

“Talks are now under way with the Parish Council to look at further assistance and goodwill which SSEN can extend to the local community, residents and businesses in the coming months.”