Nikki Barton – Independent councillor for Surrey County Council (Haslemere Ward) and Haslemere Town Council (Haslemere South Ward). Serving community interests and not political interests. Haslemere first.
I thought it would be helpful to share this letter following my request that the planned major utilities (SSE Major cabling upgrade) works on Lower Street are brought forward. I have consulted with my fellow town councillors and the Haslemere Chamber of Trade and Commerce, and agreed that the works should start as soon as possible in the hope that the works are completed before businesses in town are able to fully reopen.
This is the text of the letter:
I believe you are aware of the SSE Major cabling upgrade works on Lower Street which will require a Road Closure. These works were originally planned to take place this Summer Holidays, however I’ve been informed that you’ve asked if these works could be brought forward whilst the shops are still closed.
I’ve spoken to SSE and they can bring these works forward and have provided me with a planned start date of the 01/06/2020 (provided that you’re happy with this). The duration of the works will be 6 weeks (with the end date being 18/07/2020), however this is the worst case scenario and SSE are confident that they can complete the works quicker than this.
If they do get the go ahead, the Advanced Warning Signs will be placed on Monday 18th May and Letter drops carried out also on this date which gives members of the public and local residents/businesses plenty of notice.
The diversion route will be Tanners Lane, West Street, High
Street which has been used before and works well. The parking bays outside the
shops on West Street will have to be suspended.
Please could you advise if you would be happy with this?
From:On Behalf Of Works Communication Team/EAI/SCC Sent: 30 October 2019 14:16 To: Nikki Barton <Nikki.Barton@surreycc.gov.uk> Subject: St Christopher’s Green, Haslemere – Carriageway Resurfacing work (Road Closed)
Please find attached the letter for the carriageway resurfacing work on St. Christopher’s Green, Haslemere. The letters are due to be delivered over the next couple of days.
The works are scheduled to start on 11/11/2019. Sometimes our plans have to change, often due to bad weather or problems on other works in the same programme which can have a knock on effect. If anything changes with the details of these works, we will let you know.
I am sharing an update regarding works on Lower Street, Haslemere. The works within Lower Street itself are complete and the team have now moved into the garage area.
Prior to the works starting the
team carried out site investigations of both the pipe systems and ground
conditions. The ground condition survey had
shown mild asbestos levels that were not sufficient to cause concerns with
regard to safety. However, when the team started digging in the garage
forecourt today, they found much higher concentrations of asbestos. As a result of this works had to cease.
The team now need to get positive
confirmation it is asbestos, then assess the risks posed, and then proceed with
appropriate measures in place to safely continue their works – this process may
take some time. In the interim period the team will be working in other areas
to maintain progress of the overall job at hand.
you for getting in touch. Firstly I would like to provide some background on
the purpose of this work and the complications this scheme has presented.
works on Lower Street involve construction of new drainage and are primarily to
remove a flood risk to a property where the highways drains pass beneath it, by
rerouting our pipes. This involves digging a new pipe through private land in a
restricted area, between two houses and a garage parking area, through a
retaining wall, along a footpath and to a chamber.
There are a great deal of utility services underneath the road surface (please see below pictures and map) and ultimately it is these services which actually dictate what is possible. Due to the significant amount of underground services the team are using a vacuum excavator as this is a far safer way for our team to remove spoil than a conventional digger. Using this equipment mitigates any risk to their personal safety, which is of utmost importance to us.
have gatemen present at each end of Lower Street, their role is to remain at
either end of the road and ensure the public do not enter the live works site.
The area the team are working in is outside of a property called Tisa Cottage.
Whilst they may not be visible from either end of the road, I can assure you
that the team are on site, working extremely hard on a daily basis and are
Monday I was advised that the team had got to a point where they have found the
unknown buried pipe and this has determined the level for the rest of the
works. Our engineer believes they have found a route through the services to
allow installation of the new pipework and the team on site are working towards
this. There are difficulties with some of the existing pipes which the new
pipes need to be connected to, as they are encased in brick. This may mean that
the team have to dig further to achieve the connections or do something a
little differently. The excavations are a bit larger than initially hoped for
but unfortunately this is unavoidable. Please see attached a copy of the
original plans for this scheme which should demonstrate what the team set out
at the original plans it is clear that this a particularly difficult site with
many utility services, this makes progress slow and the design has to be
adapted to suit what is unearthed. The team had previously investigated as
thoroughly as possible having camera surveyed the drain runs and used ground
probing radar to identify services and hence a probable route for the new
pipes, however it is only when the ground is actually excavated that the
realities of the situation are revealed.
equipment being used, the width of the road and the size of excavation required
mean that a road closure is necessary. Another reason, that may not be
immediately obvious, is that live traffic cannot run too close to the hole due
to the pressure that is transmitted to the sides of the excavation by vehicles.
We really don’t want to close roads unless we have to and do not make the
decision lightly. There are many variables we have to consider including the
site operations, the size of the road and the safety of both the travelling
public and our work force. For Lower Street this criteria meant a closure.
Please see attached site diaries from the 7 and 8 August which detail work progress with photographic evidence of work taking place. Please be advised these site diaries belong to one individual on site and their start time does not necessarily reflect the time that everyone was on site.
lead engineer on this project is satisfied with the progress on site.
Considering the difficulties the team have faced, they are working extremely
hard and going the extra mile where necessary to support the residents living
in the works area, whilst carrying out their work to a good standard. I hope
this help to reassure you and your residents that work is taking place and
progress being made.
view of the above, I will be updating our road works map pop-out with a PDF
document that explains the work and has pictures of our progress so far. I hope
that this will highlight to the public the challenges the team have faced on
this scheme and the extent of works being carried out. I’m hoping that
explaining what we are trying to achieve will justify the length of time we
need for this work and why it is essential that the road is closed whilst we
carry out the work.
would be very grateful if you could direct your residents to the information on
roadworks.org and if there are further queries please could they be sent to us
in the Works Communications Team.
Utility companies are lining up for fresh projects involving roadworks around Haslemere – but this time they are taking note of concerns voiced by residents and local business.
Early next year, Southern Gas Networks (SGN) plans to start upgrading 11.5km of gas mains in and around the town. Later in the year, Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) is planning a vital cable renewal.
This morning, town councillors, the chamber president and an emergency services representative met with SGN and SSE for an outline of the proposed works and plans to minimise any impact on households, businesses and services.
With still-fresh memories of road closures and business disruption during – and after – previous gas main upgrades and road improvements, council and chamber stressed the importance of demonstrating that Haslemere is open for business.
SGN’s preliminary plans show a total of eight separate projects where gas mains need upgrading to meet modern standards of safety and reliability. Wherever possible, this will be done by inserting plastic liners into the existing pipes – a technique that is less disruptive for customers and road users.
Work on some of these projects is expected to start in January, with all scheduled for completion by August. Final details of the projects and their timings are expected to announced soon.
SSE, meanwhile, plans to close Lower Street in the summer to replace a major electricity supply cable.
Chamber President David Goddin says: “The good news for local business is that most of the SGN proposals do not directly affect the retail and commercial areas. However, the need for temporary traffic lights and diversions may cause delays on some routes.
“With the town council we have asked for informative signage to help avoid perceptions that Haslemere is difficult to visit. In the months ahead, council, chamber and individual businesses will need to work together to send out a strong message that the town is still open. This can be achieved through a combination of joint promotions and publicity via businesses’ websites and social media channels.
“I would welcome comments from chamber members and any other local businesses who have concerns about the impact of proposed works – or who have suggestions for promoting the town in the year ahead.
“SGN has assured us that all the proposed work is essential, and is part of the Health and Safety Executive’s drive to have all cast iron gas pipes within 30 metres of properties replaced by 2032. Some of the pipes, we are told, date from the early years of the last century.
“It is clear that SGN has learnt a lot since its last visit to Haslemere and it is now placing much more emphasis on engagement with all stakeholders. The company is planning a major campaign to communicate with residents beforehand and to check that their installations are safe after reconnection. Customers can expect to be without gas supplies for an average of 4.5 hours.
“Turning to Lower Street, we are told this has to be closed to through traffic for the duration because the road is too narrow to accommodate a working site and a carriageway. It is most unfortunate that the cable was not replaced at the same time as the closure for gas main replacement. This is a key thoroughfare and closing it for any length of time could have serious repercussions.”