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Fury over ‘fiasco’ of delays in roadworks

Not much sign of progress in Sea Street, where work to resurface the road seems to have come to a standstill
Not much sign of progress in Sea Street, where work to resurface the road seems to have come to a standstill

Machinery sits idle among barriers and traffic cones on a half dug-up road through Herne Bay. This was the sight in Sea Street this week as outraged traders and residents demanded to know why work to resurface the road has almost ground to a standstill. Among them is Richard Farbrace, of Grand Drive, who says KCC told him the workers are elsewhere on “more important jobs”. The retired workshop foreman, 59, said:

“The workers were only here for two days last week, despite the weather being fine. I went to a very nice presentation with men in pinstripe suits telling me how it was all going to go like clockwork, but it seems the clock spring is probably broken. It’s causing considerable inconvenience for residents and motorists, and considerable loss of trade for the businesses. They are not working the hours they are supposed to be. I think they are taking the mickey. It’s just not on.”

Business owner Karen Robson with customer Peter Gough
Business owner Karen Robson with customer Peter Gough

The £170,000 project began on May 6 and was scheduled to take eight weeks, with council bosses saying it is still set to finish on time. Karen Robson, who runs Bargains in Sea Street, says the work has caused a drop in trade and fears the situation will only get worse when the other half of the road is resurfaced, as parking spaces will be lost. She said:

“I keep emailing KCC to tell them about the problems. They have signs saying that the road is closed, but it isn’t. There is not enough signage to say that businesses are open as usual, which means we are invisible. I don’t know why the firm doing the work haven’t planned it better. It’s an absolute fiasco and all the customers are complaining about it too.”

Grand Drive resident Richard Farbrace Is angry at lack of progress
Grand Drive resident Richard Farbrace is angry at lack of progress

Post Office owner Bimal Patel added:

“I understand that the work is essential. At first they said six weeks, now they are saying the completion date is June 26. Some of our customers are elderly and can’t park outside, so it’s a problem for them to have to walk a long way. It’s also a problem for Royal Mail, who have to carry bags further. They should have made the plan properly. If they are not doing any work then it’s not going to finish in six weeks is it?”

KCC spokesman John Todd said problems with utilities companies and bad weather have delayed the work, but said workers would extend their shifts from 8am to 7pm. He also said the project involves digging half-a-metre of concrete to make way for a new surface, which is more extensive than a normal resurfacing project. He added:

“As with any scheme of this magnitude, certain complications are inevitable. We have encountered a number of unforeseen issues. Despite these we are confident of meeting the end-of-the-month deadline for completing the scheme.”

Herne Bay Gazette, June 5th 2014

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