Monday, 23 February 2009


We all know that gas main work is a night-mare but has enough consideration been given to the traders and residents of St Peter's?
Work was due to start last Monday but was 2 days late in starting and the signing gives the impression that the centre of St Peter's is now cut off.
My contacts tell me that Eastonways have cancelled their bus service that went into the Co-op Car Park in Hopeville Avenue which is still accessible and thus confined many elderly residents without cars to a 2 month misery. Why cannot Eastonways still provide a service?
This picture taken at 10.00am today shows no-one working on the site at all.

At 3.00pm, there were two men working; or to be more precise, one watching another working!
This is a disgraceful state of affairs. Businesses in St Peter's are barely hanging on due to Westwood Cross and the present recession and are already reporting trade down by 40% since the road was closed off.
We have the unsavoury situation of a Gas Company carrying out its business at an incredibly leisurely pace for a period of 8 weeks whilst the businesses and residents of St Peter's suffer as well as the road users of this critical route.
This is where local citizens expect their Councillors to get involved to come and talk to them, find out their concerns and then use what influence they can to improve signing; get the contractors to put more men on the job and bloody well get this job done in a couple of weeks rather than the ridiculous 8 weeks allocated at present.
So where are KCC Councillor Bill Hayton and TDC Councillors Zita Wiltshire, Jason Savage and 'Our Ken' ? Are they talking to businesses and residents who they represent? What are they doing to see if this work can be done in a faster and more effective way? Can they not take up issues with Eastonways and the gas contractors?
If they are twiddling their thumbs, the small businesses of St Peter's will go under and all it needs is the pet supplies or butchers to go and others will follow. For goodness sake, can we not do essential work like this in a speedy and effective way? Get to it, Councillor's, elections are on the way!


DrMoores said...

I had a similar problem in Westgate last year with the main gas supply being replaced in St Mildreds Rd. I did go and speak with some very unhappy traders, if only to let them understand there was nothing we could do about it, other than urge the company to complete their works as scheduled - and remind them along the way - .

Contrary to what many people think, roads etc come under Kent Highways control and councillors have very little if no control of such matters. Sounds strange I know!

Local resident said...

I understand Eastonways could have brought the service along Vicarage Street to the church and then turn down High Street but refused to do so, apparently. Instead the bus goes down Broadstairs Road by-passing the village completely. There is a suspicion the gas main works may extend down the High Street in due course. If that's the case, the traders may as well shut up shop completely.

tony flaig bignews said...

What are they doing that requires 2 months.

Bertie Biggles said...

Simon, I remember that problem and the fact that a Councillor can only do so much. I hope the TDC 'team'and KCC Cllr for St Peter's can together put as much pressure on as possible to get the job done quickly and efficiently or at least offer comfort and solace to traders!

Local Resident, thanks for that and please contact your Councillors.They might be able to persuade Eastonways to revise its thoughts. My understanding is that the Co-op is still accessible from Church Street so the bus could have still got there by a minor route change and served its core passengers.

Tony, exactly. In your line of work, speed and minimum disruption to 'business'i.e. trains carrying paying passengers, is a priority. There is no similar urgency with Gas Mains and perhaps KCC Highways should be able to give a tighter time-scale for such projects?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Moores says that there is little that local councillors can do about Kent Highways. Does he advise that our local MPs should be involved, then? It does not seem acceptable to allow Kent Highways to mis-manage (or not manage) everything they get involved in, which in my experience seems to be the case. Somebody must be accountable.

DrMoores said...

When it comes to replacing a gas ring main or whatever, there's very little option. The notice works are normally posted and then we are in the hands of the contractor. Local democracy has very little to do with it beyond making calls to the Highway department or Gas company and begging them to hurry up!

There's normally a time period for completion beyond which financial penalties can be levied.

Local resident again said...

This morning at 10.15a.m. two guys were leaning on the power generator eating sandwiches. No-one else in sight. At 11a.m. only one guy in view looking bored, standing with hands deep in pockets. No sign of anyone else.

One of the main problems is the inaccurate signs that say 'Vicarage Street and High Street closed', both at the St. Peter's 'roundabout' (still known as that) and at the roundabout at the end where Westwood Road meets Vicarage Street. No, they are not closed but access through Church Street is.

Cllr. Savage can see all this from his house but, to my certain knwoledge, hasn't even taken the trouble to see the local traders to ask if there is anything he might do to help. That is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

By the time the gas company gets its act together there won't be any traders to pay their business rates to TDC and we'll have even more empty premises.