Monday, September 07, 2009

Gilgal Face-to-face

Managed to visit the mobile unit that's been situated in town to reassure us and got some specific questions answered as well as putting forward my viewpoint.

Although billed as a Severn Trent Water customer unit it was a Balfour Beatty van with four BB reps and one STW rep well to be precise four people wearing BB jumpers one of whom looked like he belonged guarding a nightclub door (were they expecting trouble?).

I mentioned Sandy Lane - ah that was done piecemeal with small trenches; "uh-huh so why is there a great long strip down it?" Well it's different because...

We're digging on both sides of the road at the same time. "You'd better be" I replied. "Otherwise it'll be pitchfork and torches time"

"Why can't one lane be kept open?" Because we'd never get finished.

"But 10 weeks of delay over 5 weeks of closure would be more appreciated". Health and Safety.

Someone else asked "Why can't some of the one-way roads be switched?" Health and Safety plus more roadworks to remove the "islands" those would be splitters not islands.

"What about emergency vehicles?" Emergency services have a dedicated number to call, there will be someone on site 24 hours to clear barriers and lay down temporary platforms over trenches.

"What's the point of all the signs warning of delays? The delays aren't likely to be at those points but at the points you're diverting all the traffic too. Residents of Kidderminster or those passing through may have no idea about what's going on until they wake-up and find a queue of traffic outside their house" Good point we'll look into putting signs up on the diversion route to alert them.

It was mentioned by myself and several others about BB having to come out again after all the work had been finished and dig it all up again to fix problems. I cited experience with Mitton Street and the OGL Island as well as the debacle with water meters. Someone else mentioned BB coming out to one point 8 times to dig it back up and how after several times he personally inspected the holes they were about to fill in and found several with leaks "I said 'You've just about to fill those in and they're still leaking' and the response was 'Oh I'll have a look at them'". In this case though it'll be different. As this is a high-profile job it won't be finished until it's inspected and signed off. "You'll forgive me if I don't believe you" I replied. "We've had too many examples of work being 'finished' before being dug up again. It's a matter of trust and from experience we don't trust you"

Talking to the STW rep I said "You don't care. If you do a poor job there's nothing we can do to punish you. If the Co-op caused us problems we can stop shopping there; 'Oh I'll stop using Severn Trent' who else can we use?" The response was that BB would lose money that OFWAT existed etc.

Oh almost forgot on terms of trust I mentioned the dumb move in originally planning this during the carnival, their response? "We liaised with the councils and the carnival people they said it would be okay. We pointed out what was happening and they said it wouldn't affect their route."
"So they changed their minds?"

Can I get a response from the carnival committee on that?

Anyway the final point is that we're going to have to like it and lump it. But by the gods if they aren't working on both sides, if they slack off, they'll be hell to pay.


janutd said...

As carnival secretary, I was e-mailed re Gilgal works asking for a meeting with the committee. Several members, including town councillors attended the meeting and asked for the date of the works to be deferred which it was. At no time did we say 'it was ok'. Although the works woiuld not affect the carnival route, as we no longer take it down Gilgal, we were still concerened about the traffic on carnival day.

FlipC said...

Thinking back the exact words he used were "weren't concerned" about the roadworks. He stressed that they were they explicitly pointed out possible problems and that was the response they received until the 'change of mind'.

One of the things I pointed out to them in terms of trust and the carnival was that the original planning notice that went in the paper and how it should never have been placed. I didn't get an explicit 'consultation occurred before/after notice' as they passed the buck to the council about when it was published.

So were you consulted prior to the notice or post-notice?

janutd said...

When e-mailed I replied that the works would not affect the parade route as far as I could see but that someone would attend the meeting to discuss this. No one on the committee said that we weren't concerned. In fact quite the opposite re the traffic build up.

janutd said...

Sorry I cant say if we were notified before the notice.