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Village shutdown fear

Posted on November 30 2018 at 11:00:20

Hewell Rd

Barnt Green parish councillors expressed their concerns to Severn Trent over plans to close Hewell Road while an old water main is replaced.

The work, originally scheduled for January 2019, is now likely to take place in August instead, during the school holidays – but it will still mean significant disruption to residents, traders and motorists.

Representatives of Severn Trent and Amey, the engineers carrying out the work on its behalf, attended Barnt Green’s parish council meeting to share the latest plans.

”We understand that nobody wants this work done, but it is crucial and complex,” said Samantha Pedley, customer liaison officer for Amey.

“We are looking at ways to do it without having to close the whole road, but the worst-case scenario is full closure.”

She added that the complexity of the project was due to the location of existing utilities such as the gas main, meaning engineers will have to access the middle of the road.

However, she said that the workers would be putting in longer hours than usual in an attempt to get the work completed in six weeks. Work would take place on weekdays but the site would be made safe overnight to allow traffic.

Upon learning that Severn Trent plans to hold a drop-in event for residents only two weeks before the work begins, parish chairman Robert Cholmondeley said, “Two weeks is not nearly enough time for people to make plans.

“Some people go away for long periods in the school holidays – you could arrive home and not be able to access your house!”

Coun Cholmondeley wondered where residents of Hewell Road were supposed to park if not outside their homes. “Surrounding roads are already very busy and dangerous, and other areas have parking restrictions.”

Coun Charlie Hotham suggested that Severn Trent contact Barnt Green Social Club to arrange temporary parking there, and Coun Cholmondeley said St Andrew’s First School could also be approached.

County councillor Peter McDonald told the representatives, “It’s not unusual to replace an old main, and you don’t need to close the whole road to do it – it’s just cheaper for you to do it that way!

“The county council is totally against closure, and you need their permission to do it.”

Ms Pedley insisted that the choice of method was not cost-driven and stressed that everything possible was being done to lessen the impact on villagers.

Severn Trent has promised to liaise with the affected businesses, who may be entitled to compensation for loss of trade on submission of evidence.

Coun Hotham pointed out that traders had already lost business during recent road closures for railway works and the Foxhills development, and suggested that Severn Trent start contacting the shops right away to give them a chance to collate their evidence.

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