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Five Weeks of Prolonged Road Surfacing Works is Muddy Hell for Residents

Published on: 8 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 8 Sep, 2014

Residents in Cline Road, Charlotteville, are angry at prolonged road surfacing works that have resulted in water pipes being broken and electrical power cut off.

Muddy Hell! Cline Road, Charlotteville, with work in progress. All pictures by Ian Nicholls.

Muddy Hell! Cline Road, Charlotteville, with work in progress. All pictures by Ian Nicholls.

Dragon NEWS reader Ian Nicholls, who lives in Cline Road, has written listing the disruptions and muddy conditions that have lasted five long weeks.

He says: “We are in the fifth week of a real bodge of a job and are all just astonished at what is going on. It is unbelievable.

“The heavy machinery they brought in to break up the road surface broke numerous water pipes and cut electric power. In the first week we had three nights of Thames Water and power contractors working to repair the damage.

“One household went five days without water. The vibrations from the machinery were said by neighbours to shake the houses – which you will appreciate have no foundations.

One of the machines being used in Cline Road.

One of the machines being used in Cline Road.

“We now have movement in areas of our ground floor where presumably the ground under the floor joists has shifted. We’ve all spent five weeks with a wet cement slurry and huge holes in the road and days with nothing happening to sort the leaks.”

Mr Nicholls adds that he has spoken to the contractors. He said they claimed the original workforce who dug up the road and broke all the water pipes have “either been sacked or have done a runner because of the financial implications of causing so much damage”.

Another view of the watery road.

Another view of the watery road.

He adds: “We are beginning to understand why it has taken so long while all this fiasco is being resolved. The current company (which they say is the usual one that Surrey County Council uses) has been brought in ‘to sort out the mess’.

“They were told by Surrey County Council to Tarmac over the leak and water that you can see at the bottom of the road, and it wasn’t until a SCC man came to look that he agreed it wasn’t possible. So they are surfacing where they can. Now another leak has appeared through the newly laid ‘temporary’ Tarmac.

On of the holes that is filled with water.

On of the holes that is filled with water.

“Worse is still to come. The bottom half of the road is being laid with a temporary surface that we are told by the contractors will be dug up again in six months, but we don’t know why.

“The road is still closed and the bottom remains impassable and unsurfaced. To add insult, we get our parking permit renewal letters today! (September 3).

Mr Nicholls said that most of the information that has been gleaned by residents has come from speaking with the workmen, as phoning Surrey County Council and Thames Water “has revealed very little information of any value”.

One day last week Mr Nicholls came home to find his parked car had been removed from Alexandra Place, having being previously told by the contractors it would be okay there. He said he had no indication of where it had been moved to until he called the police.

Contractors' vehicles at the scene.

Contractors’ vehicles at the scene.

The county councillor for Guildford South East (that includes Charlotteville), Mark Brett-Warburton (Con), said that he feels very sorry for the residents of Cline Road due to the on-going road works.

He explained that this is a situation that the county council faces with old and Victorian streets where the foundations of houses are often shallower. He said a large plaining machine was brought in and unfortunately the vibrations it makes probably shattered the old ageing and brittle cast-iron water pipes.

Mr Brett-Warburton added that the problems are “somewhat of a collective thing: the state of the brittle pipes, the chalk underneath the road and the type of machinery that is used”.

He added that similar road surfacing in the Upper High Street, Castle Hill, Tormead Road and at the junction of Sydenham Road and Tunsgate, has been undertaken without problems due to the new surfaces being laid on existing concrete bases.

He concluded: “I feel very sorry for the residents, but they will get a good road surface when the work is complete.”

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Responses to Five Weeks of Prolonged Road Surfacing Works is Muddy Hell for Residents

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    September 8, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    We were told by SCC Cllr Furey [Con, Addlestone] cabinet member for highways, transport and flooding] that Project Horizon would be a revelation with a new and extremely competent contractor.

    There is no doubt that Victorian infra structure poses problems, but SCC Cllr Brett-Warburton [Con, Guildford SE] has show that these are well known. As such the way to deal with them should have been known and used.

    There has been bad weather (and floods) but the delays and standard of finished works are far in excess of that cause. The delays, incompetence and lack of adequate supervision mean the road repairs and pothole filling of Project Horizon is degenerating into a complete farce.

  2. Mary Bedforth Reply

    September 9, 2014 at 7:08 am

    And we thought Ringway were comedians.

  3. Julie Howarth Reply

    September 9, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    A neighbour just said to us: “Is it called Project Horizon because you can see no end to it?”

    Now into the sixth week and no sign of any activity. The scene at bottom of road is the same – blocked off and no tarmac.

  4. Muriel Quilter Reply

    September 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Although part of the road is now completed, the entry to the road remains closed so traffic is having to make a detour via Addison Road and Alexandra Terrace which is awkward and dangerous, particularly at school times (Holy Trinity School is at the end of the road). It is believed it will remain so for a further six months.

    Not a word of apology from any of the parties involved, not a hint of reduction in the bills we pay to them, nor any mention of compensation.

    What an outrage. What a fiasco. And we are supposed to be consoled by being told that at the end of it all we will have a “good road surface”.

  5. Andy Bebington Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Nothing has been heard from the council about any compensation for the residents … the disruption to life has been appalling, especially for those with small children, or the elderly, or those with wheelchairs. I assume that the Disability Discrimination Act doesn’t apply to highways?

    Can the council not dig up the whole of the older, bottom end of the road with a view to replacing the old, fragile pipes, and then re-making the road to today’s standards – all without wrecking the houses which are there?

    As someone helping with a disabled schoolchild, I think the situation needs a long, hard look by someone with access to a large purse.

  6. Liz Bebington Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I wait with interest to see what happens next time it rains hard. Previously, the drains filled up with a cement/sand mix which was laid on the road prior to the mains bursting and which washed down when it rained.

    Some of the drains at the bottom end of the road – but not all – were dug out to a depth of about two feet by a council workman last Thursday but you can sill see water sitting in the holes, despite dry weather since.

  7. Julie Howarth Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    We seem to have been abandoned by Guildford Borough Council too. No refuse collection yet this week and its been two weeks now since weekly food bin collection.

    Good for the canny foxes but not great for residents and the disabled, nor school kids walking to school. No option but to leave bins on pavement for days in hope refuse will be collected.

    Still, I expect the parking enforcement officers will get through!

  8. Andy Bebington Reply

    September 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Someone mentioned compensation for residents. What residents would really welcome, I guess, is someone from the council telling them that other projects have been shelved so that resources can be diverted and this mess can be sorted out now.

    It’s an insult to Charlotteville residents if other works carry on as if nothing had happened. The council needs to communicate with residents to let them feel that the problem has been noticed and is going to be dealt with. Not in a week’s time, now.

    We also need to be assured that resources will be diverted from other, non-urgent projects, to get it fixed.

    Come on, council – communicate!

  9. Matthew Taylor Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 6:45 am

    I sympathise with Cline Road residents over this as they are receiving the worst of the impact of the work.

    Things aren’t much better around the corner on Cooper Road as all the machinery exits the area this way and there is a thick layer of dust over everything. Would love to give the windows a clean but what’s the point?

    The article mentions car removals: this happened to us too on Cooper Road. There was no warning or follow telling us where the car was moved to.

    I was outraged that my seven-month pregnant wife had to wander the streets for two evenings looking for it (I was away rather than putting my feet up), to eventually find it half a mile away on Pewley Way. Two weeks later Guildford and Surrey still cannot agree between then who authorised and did the removal, let alone apologise. Ridiculous.

  10. Stuart Mace Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I have been emailing David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council. His PA has been responsive up to last week. I have also been copying in Anne Milton, MP for Guildford (, her PA has been quite good in coming back to me, but still no action.

    Maybe shouting in numbers might work, David Hodge’s email address is, but please state in the title of your mail that this is not for the complaints team and is for his office to deal with.

  11. Roger Quilter Reply

    December 6, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I’m currently arguing with the parking office regarding a penalty I received during the road closure. Would someone be kind enough to tell me the dates that the road was closed for?

  12. Julie Howarth Reply

    March 30, 2015 at 10:24 am

    The finishing line is in sight. It’s the end of March and Cline Road finally gets its road resurfacing finished today, fingers crossed. Only 8 months after the work started. Is this a record?
    Let’s see how long it is before the “old ageing and brittle cast-iron water pipes” they’ve been watching over winter, leak again.

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