The manager of The Apple Orchard café in West Wycombe says a two-month-long National Trust improvement project in the village could be a death sentence for his business. 

Amit Sisodia, who took over management of the popular café with his wife Aparna around two years ago, said he "doesn’t understand" why the National Trust has chosen to launch an eight-week ‘repair and improvement’ project in the village during ‘the busiest months of the year’.

The heritage conservation charity will be carrying out work on seven properties between Chapel House and 38 High Street in West Wycombe between Monday, July 8, and Monday, September 2.

A parking restriction will be in place for the whole of the designated period alongside barriers and temporary traffic lights on the stretch where the works are taking place. 

Mr Sisodia, whose business is the biggest employer in the village, said the Trust didn’t consult locals before seeking permission for the works and questioned the rationale for launching the project over the summer months – “the busiest time of the year which we usually rely on to cover our losses”.

He added: “The blocked-off pavement means people won’t come to us on foot and the traffic lights will cause immense traffic jams, so people will probably just start avoiding the village.

“It’s a difficult time to run a business now as it is – even one bad day can have a real impact. Making losses for two months would be very serious for us and the local people we employ. Over 20 people could lose their jobs.”

READ MORE: ‘We're thrilled’: High Wycombe school rated ‘outstanding’ in all categories by Ofsted

The business owner, whose café is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of quirky décor and homemade food packed inside a 700-year-old building on West Wycombe High Street, said the National Trust project – if it has to take place – should have been earmarked for the significantly quieter winter months to minimise the impact on local trade.

“I just feel frustrated. This was decided by people whose salaries won’t be impacted at all – they’re not losing their jobs, so they don’t care.”

A spokesperson for the National Trust 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.”