A CAFÉ owner fears she may be forced out of business as road works are set to cause “massive” disruption for over six months.

Elizabeth Boult, who runs Brookside Fruits café in Copcut, off the A38, said she only just survived after an access layby was partially blocked for several weeks last year to store stone chippings.

Ringway are carrying out the roadworks on behalf of the county council, due to start this week, and have announced the layby will be once again used to store equipment and chippings.

Ms Boult, 52, said last time all businesses in the compound were hampered by the works because many customers thought they were shut.

She said it also made the road more dangerous because exiting motorists going northbound have to take a risky wide berth, while lorries are unable to enter at all due to the restricted layby.

“We only just managed to survive with the losses in business but if this is to happen again, and for so long, I think we will have no choice but to close the businesses here with the loss of several jobs,” she said.

She said the first she knew about the works, was when a representative from Persimmon Homes contacted her a couple of weeks ago – with the works relating to the Yew Tree Hill development.

“The council has given permission for the storage of materials whilst working on the A38. The planned works are said to last for 26 weeks,” she said.

While the layby was shut last summer for a few weeks, Ms Boult said it had a “massive effect on the businesses”.

She said traders have tried to contact all parties involved “to see if they can store their materials elsewhere but nobody is interested”.

“I feel they have no right to do this as this means that traffic will be forced to enter and exit at the bottom of the layby which is dangerous and will inevitably cause an accident.”

She said: "When planning permission was originally granted in 1997 it was one of the local planning authorities conditions, in consultation with the highway authority, set out in the particulars of the application, that the layby be retained and kept available.

"We have asked each person that we have contacted about this - 'who will be responsible if an accident occurs because you are taking away a granted access that was passed in the interest of highway safety?'"

"It is not acceptable that a condition of planning which was implemented in the interest of road safety can be ignored," she added.

A council highways spokesman said: “We use a number of our laybys across the county during the spring and summer months to store chippings that are used for essential surface dressing works to ensure we keep our roads in good condition and reduce potholes and problems for drivers.

“The layby on the A38 close to the Brookside Fruits Cafe has been regularly used to store chippings.

“We are looking into the issues raised by the café and will liaise with them over our arrangements.

“We have postponed the storage of chippings for two weeks whilst we liaise with the business.”