WORK to refurbish the cobbles on Chepstow’s oldest street has caused a stir in the town, and may threaten the future of a nearby pub.

Hocker Hill Street is one of the town’s tourist attractions, with its narrow thoroughfare and uneven cobbles offering a glimpse into how Chepstow looked in days gone by.

In May, Monmouthshire County Council began work on the road, to replace its paving slabs and cobblestones. A small portion of the road has been refurbished, but as of last week work stopped.

The Free Press understands there is now a dispute over the work which has already been carried out, possibly over concerns the way in which the cobblestones have been relaid is at odds the local authority’s own strict rules on preserving Hocker Hill Street’s traditional look.

Olly Hayden, landlord of The Five Alls, at the foot of Hocker Hill Street, fears the newly-laid cobbles will have to be dug up and the work restarted – something he said would threaten his business.

The work was originally estimated to last 12 weeks, according to a council notice displayed in Hocker Hill Street, but even in the two months which have passed, Mr Hayden said his pub had suffered financially.

“It’s been a nightmare, with the disruption to the business,” he said.

Mr Hayden estimated the pub had lost thousands of pounds in takings because people either saw the roadworks and were put off going into the pub, or assumed the pub was closed altogether.

“If they have to dig it up again, it could put us out of business,” he said. “Work started on the [May] bank holiday and we had hardly any customers.

“Nobody wants to sit outside with machinery and dust everywhere.”

He added: “We’ve had tourists coming in and asking if we were open. The sunny season is massive for us.

“We’ve lost out on the weekend the most, and the walk-in tourist trade.”

The cordoned-off area of work has now moved past The Five Alls, but for weeks was stationed in front of the entrance. Mr Hayden said the workers had been “fantastic” in allowing customers access, but when he approached the local authority for some support, possibly in the form of a business rates reduction, he was turned down.

“All they offered me was a sign saying ‘open as usual,’” Mr Hayden said. “It’s a kick in the teeth.”

The landlord said one of those signs had already been supplied by the pub’s brewery.

Hocker Hill Street, he said, may have needed a “little bit of repair work” but he questioned the need to refurbish the whole road. He said he had cleaned the outside of the pub 10 times since the work began, because of the dust.

“I’ve been here eight years and built and a community hub here,” he said. “It’ll be a damn shame if we lose it.”

County councillor and Chepstow resident Armand Watts said he also feared the cobbles would have to be dug up.

“It’s posh crazy paving – it looks like Newport town centre now,” he said.

“It doesn’t have the same integrity as it used to.”

Monmouthshire County Council was contacted for comment.