A landlady has warned 13 weeks of gas works could spell "the end" of her well-known 300-year-old Suffolk pub and cause 'chaos' in her village.

Ufford villagers are concerned that the closure of the High Street to enable gas firm Cadent Gas' work to replace ageing pipes could lead to traffic using other village roads, such as The Avenue and School Lane as a diversion route instead of the A12, causing congestion.

The works should have started earlier this month just 30 metres from the door of the Ufford Crown pub, which has been trading since the mid-18th century and is run by Polly and Max Durrant, but were postponed.

The EADT has subsequently learned from Suffolk county councillor Alexander Nicoll that the county's network assurance team has not yet given permission for Cadent to work on the highway amid concerns about a lack of public consultation about the plans.

READ MORE: High Street in Ufford to close until August for Cadent works

East Anglian Daily Times: Polly and Max Durrant next to the High Street where the Cadent Gas works are set to take placePolly and Max Durrant next to the High Street where the Cadent Gas works are set to take place (Image: Charlotte Bond)He said signs advertising the closure, which were erected at the end of April in the High Street, were removed by the county council.

Polly said: "It is obviously going to have a devastating impact on the pub and we are worried that in this challenging economic climate, we will not survive a 13 week road closure.

"We rely on trade from the walk-ins and passers-by."

READ MORE: Three-month road closure in High Street in Ufford postponed

She feared tourists and visitors to the village, who had not booked a table at the pub, would not be able to get to The Crown if the High Street was blocked off and would choose to visit another pub that was more easily accessible.

A 13-mile diversion route was to be set up to take drivers along Yarmouth Road through Melton and onto the A12 at the roundabout with the A1152. 

Drivers could then continue on the A12 northbound towards Wickham Market and Campsea Ashe. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Suffolk county councillor Alexander Nicoll described the communications by Cadent Gas as 'risible'Suffolk county councillor Alexander Nicoll described the communications by Cadent Gas as 'risible' (Image: Suffolk County Council)Another major concern has been a lack of communication and public consultation from Cadent Gas and Polly said nobody in the village knew anything about the impending closure until the signs appeared in April.

She said the utilities firm held a 'tiny meeting' in nearby Melton to provide information about the works, but had not invited any Ufford residents or representatives of The Crown.

Cadent Gas was due to hold a further information meeting at Ufford Community Hall on Thursday (May 23) between 4pm and 8pm in response to concerns that communication about the first event was ineffective.

READ MORE: Woodbridge news

"This is going to be the end of the pub. It is going to be chaos for the village and it is going to go on for three months," Polly added.

Cllr Nicoll, who represents Ufford, described the way villagers had been treated as 'shabby' and said Cadent had not received permission to put up the signs, while communication had been 'really bad'.

The council had put a stop to the works until a proper consultation process had been carried out, he said.

He said: "The real problems are first of all, that the communication has been absolutely risible. The worst in my 20 years in local government.

"It has come across as hugely arrogant and secondly, it has to be proved to communities affected that these works are going to be implemented in the least worst way possible and that evidence has not been presented to us."

READ MORE: Suffolk news

Ufford Parish Council clerk Judi Hallett echoed Cllr Nicoll's sentiments and said she hoped that the outcome of Thursday's meeting would be that Cadent would consider a shorter closure or put in temporary traffic lights to enable vehicles to still use the High Street.

She said as well as The Crown, there were a number of other nearby businesses that could be affected by the High Street closure, including Suffolk Plant Centre at Pettistree and Ufford Park Hotel.

"We fully appreciate the fact that this work has to be done and that these utilities need to be updated, but what we are really questioning is have all the avenues been explored to ensure the best outcome for the village?" she added.

Eleanor Lewis, head of customer experience at Cadent, said: “First and foremost, I’d like to apologise to the residents of Ufford who may have felt that the communication surrounding our information event wasn’t as effective as it could have been.

"As such, we are holding a second event on Thursday May 23 between 4pm and 8pm at Ufford Community Hall, The Avenue, Ufford, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13 6BF.

“We know it’s far from ideal to have any sort of traffic management in place in what is a busy area, let alone a complete road closure, but we have worked hard with the local authorities to create a plan that keeps traffic flowing and maintains access for local businesses and residents.  

“We are very conscious of the disruption roadworks cause and that is why we are holding this information event on Thursday so that people can learn more about the work that we are doing.

"We will do our absolute best to address all questions and reassure residents about the works taking place and the small business insurance scheme that is available to those affected."