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Midnight Motorway Maintenance On Bermondsey Street

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Monday 21 April 2008 11.06pm
Southwark Council has surpassed itself yet again. The level of incompetence and simple disregard for residents' welfare is astounding. Read on.

Tonight, densely residential Bermondsey Street has been transformed into an all-night, all-week, arc-lighted, asphalt-lorried, road-scraping hell. And all this turns out to be a bit of a surprise to anyone who lives here...and also to the Council...and also to the contractors.

As Southwark Traffic's Arnold Bennett-Jones, resplendent in luminous jacket amongst half a dozen idled labourers, tonight acknowledged, no resident he has spoken to has received any notification whatsoever of these works.

In fact, Southwark itself has clearly been uninformed of its own contractors' activities, since the reason that so many site workers are resting on their shovels is that Southwark has not even issued its own notices to suspend residents' and disabled parking bays, so that the work has to be performed around parked cars (which quite properly cannot be removed, since no notification has been given). The works were planned to take 2 days, I was told by workmen tonight, but that now they will last "all week".

Since Bermondsey Street was closed for 4 months recently for Thames Water without any noticeable effect on traffic, I have to ask whether the decision to perform this work at night, stinking out residents in their beds with hot asphalt fumes, with flashing amber lights, with steel road-beds being laid and with lorry-reversing beeps sounding all night long is not some perverse revenge for the rebuke which the Council received from residents for its loony traffic schemes in 2007(remember, two-way traffic, with a dedicated cycle lane in each direction, battling along a road which barley takes a single car in places - another triumph of non-consultation!)

Surely, this resurfacing activity should take place during the day-time at normal wage rates. Bermondsey Street is unfortunately notorious for heavy-traffic speedsters but, to my knowledge, is not yet part of the national motorway system, which is where I would expect to see all-night roadworks.

The inefficiency of Southwark's administration, the profligacy of its double-time-earning, idled workforce and the lack of consideration towards its own Council Tax payers is staggering.

How difficult can it really be to issue notices in good time, enforce a simple closure of the street during daylight hours and get the job done in 2 days while paying day-time wage rates ?

I am tempted to conclude that such extensive mis-management can only be deliberate and must be calculated to benefit a third party. That would go beyond simple incompetence and into the realm of corruption.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 5.37am
Heavens! What a bloody shambles. And since I actually pay THREE lots of Council Tax in Southwark I'm the more appalled. How is this kind of thing possible? Who authorised the work if no one seems to know it's happening? Sympathies with the residents of BS.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 8.06am
Nobody has died or anything though?
Tuesday 22 April 2008 8.44am
I have a suggestion for you.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 8.51am

That would be obituaries. This is the SE1 discussion forum.


Read the thread - it's about Southwark Council's incompetence. While I would cherish your comments on Welsh Local Government and Property values, it's a bit off-topic for the SE1 discussion forum.

Any insightful comments would be welcome.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 8.58am
Comments along the line of "if you don't like noise don't live in central London" are not welcome on this forum. We've been there, done that before and it's a ridiculous argument. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

That said - whatever particular communications breakdown there may have been on this occasion - it seems to me that the council can't win re. the timing of this type of work.

No doubt if it had been carried out during the day people would complain that it impeded business, etc etc.

But no need for smart alec comments, thanks. It gives this forum a bad name and discourages people from participating in a reasoned conversation.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Tuesday 22 April 2008 9.31am
Oddly enough in my street last night i watched in amazement as the largest piece of plant i have ever seen on a london road pulled up. It must have been 50 plus feet long, looked like it had a pile driver and a crane attached, disappeared very quietly about 5/6 now i know where it went..Bermondsey street! Work has to be carried out i suppose, but a letter informing residents would not go amiss.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 9.47am
I have to ask about the statement "if you don't like noise don't live in central London" and the subsequent "not everybody have the choice of where they live" which I understand is not welcome in this forum.

Excuse my ignorance in the socioeconomic details of SE1, but I actually find it difficult to understand who in SE1 can not choose to move somewhere else if they are so bothered by noise? Please enlighten me?

I promise I will never bring this up again once this is clarified to me...
Tuesday 22 April 2008 10.10am
The comment above that these works may now last all week just shows the incompetence and lack of planning with this project.
I watched last night as one of my neighbours had to rush to move his car as an enormous road scraper edged past it, spitting gravel all over the road.

Evidence for sure that no one had been informed that these works were going to happen.

If the residents had been aware then i'm sure I wouldn't have seen so many people going out to ask the workmen what on earth was going on.

I agree that the road needs to be resurfaced but surely the right time would have been immediately after Thames Water ripped it up last year, not some six months later.
Tuesday 22 April 2008 10.11am
Getting this thread back on topic...

I just rang Southwark Council after checking the website for scheduled roadworks for Bermondsey Street and it coming up blank. I rang the environment team and they also have no record of the works. They could not tell me if the contractor has applied for permission to perform roadworks after 6pm last night or any night this week and advised me to call the noise team if the works continue tonight.

Now the frustrating part... if the contractor has applied for permission to perform works after 6pm then there is nothing the noise team can do...

They also tried to pass me off to TFL as they claimed Southwark did manage the street. I pointed out that the only part managed by TFL because it is a red route is the part between Tooley Street and Crucific Lane.

I advise anyone who lives on the street to call the noise team tonight: 020 7525 2000
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