With most pubs in Reading filling up this December with Christmas bookings, The Fisherman’s Cottage is still experiencing a “very quiet” festive season.

As previously reported, Mrs Cigdem Atkins, 49, owner of The Fisherman’s Cottage Pub on the River Kennet, has been suffering extreme business loss since the commencement of building work to strengthen the riverside retaining wall.

The council has closed off access for “essential repair works,” making getting to the riverside pub difficult and allegedly leaving the venue missing out on crucial passing trade.

The building work is taking place on the path that crosses in front of The Fisherman’s Cottage.

The contractors had told Mrs Atkins that the building work would end before Christmas, but she said they have now updated that, telling her it will now go on until March.

“At the moment I don’t have one single customer,” she said. “It is so quiet compared to last year, we have had so many cancellations for Christmas bookings.”

Mrs Atkins said that she has had 35 people cancel their Christmas parties in the last three days.

She said: “We are really struggling. The Jolly Anglers shut down recently, and they are a bit further down from us. The landlord there was saying it was also very quiet because of the building work.

“It is affecting all of us. It’s very hard.”

As previously reported, Mrs Atkins explained that a member of the council and the building site manager had visited her pub to discuss how they could help.

They told her that they would put up signs saying that local businesses were still open.

“They put up two signs, one in front of the pub and one in my car park,” she said. “How is that going to help business? People still don’t know we’re open past the building work.”

She continued: “They are in la la land.”

Mrs Atkins complained to the council who then moved the signs down further towards the town centre, but still not somewhere with high visibility. “I just give up,” she said.

“They always say they look after small businesses, but they push small businesses out of business. They’re useless.”

Mrs Atkins said that her pub has no more than 50 bookings over Christmas, a fraction of what they saw last festive season.

A spokesperson for the council has said: "The canal path will be reopened by 22 December and remain open for the entire Christmas and New Year period to ensure ease of access for residents throughout the holiday period.

"However, due to the collapse of a section of the retaining wall, the path will need to be closed again in the new year to complete this complex additional work which requires sheet piling.

"Signage advising that the pubs remain open was created, and situated, in consultation with the pub’s owners and can be found on the path west of The Fisherman’s Cottage, east of the Jolly Anglers, and also on Canal Way and Cumberland Road.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the works, but the safety of our residents remains our primary concern."

The pub is a 20-minute walk from the town centre along the riverside. They are hosting a special Christmas menu this year with gluten free and vegetarian options.

People can also access The Fisherman's Cottage via the main road at cemetery junction. Their car park postcode is RG1 3HJ.