A pub landlord fears he could go out of business because the road where his establishment lies is to shut for six weeks during peak season.

Richard Lappin and his wife Lynne have run the Swan Inn on the A683 between Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale for 17 years, during which time they have operated a successful business and become popular and familiar figures in the local area.

However, Cumbria County Council have confirmed the road will close completely from June 24 until early August at Middleton Hall Bridge, which lies just to the north of the Swan Inn, to enable bridge repairs to take place.

Mr Lappin said that effectively leaves his business at the end of a cul-de-sac several miles long, and as he relies on passing traffic for almost all his trade, the closure is a crippling blow.

He explained the fact that the road closure will take place at the height of the summer season was the key factor as the couple needed the busy summer trade to see them through the quieter winter months.

“I appreciate the bridge has to be repaired, but the question I have to ask is ‘Why now?’” said Mr Lappin.

“We need to make our money in the summer to keep us going through the winter and I don’t know what we are going to do.”

The bridge was badly damaged by Storm Desmond in December 2015 and shortly afterwards was replaced by a temporary one lane bailey bridge, necessitating the installation of traffic light controls. 

Mr Lappin said traffic levels had mostly been maintained by the temporary lights and his trade had therefore been largely unaffected, but the impending closure of the road at the height of the tourist season would clearly have a serious effect on his business.

He explained that he had made inquiries with Cumbria County Council (CCC) and various other agencies with regards to a possible claim for compensation but had made little or no progress.

And when contacted by The Westmorland Gazette, a CCC spokesman confirmed no compensation scheme was in place for such instances.

“Cumbria County Council follows national guidance regarding this issue and does not offer compensation for businesses and communities affected by road works,” said a CCC spokesman.

“We strive to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum and always work alongside individuals and communities to provide as much support as possible.”