Apology from water board over lengthy pipe work

Work in Polegate was due to be completed by the end of January
Work in Polegate was due to be completed by the end of January

SOUTH East Water has been accused of washing its hands of the traffic disruptions caused by its delayed £750,000 water main scheme in Polegate.

East Sussex County Councillor Stephen Shing’s office has been flooded with complaints from angry residents, who say their lives have been made a misery by the traffic diversions at Wannock Road, where work is being carried out to replace the last section of a 24in iron pipe to secure tap water supplies.

“I received a large number of complaints from residents in Wannock and Broad Road area, where traffic is being diverted,” he told the Herald.

“Cars are parked on either side of Broad Road, homeowners are having difficulty getting in and out of their driveways and it’s not easy for larger vehicles to get through.

“They park so close to each other that the cars go over the verge.

“South East Water has washed their hands of it and said the route diversions have been agreed by the county highways authority.”

Cllr Shing has asked East Sussex County Council to request contributions from Southern Water to make good the damage which has been caused by extra traffic on Broad Road.

Wannock resident Roy Douglas said he is frustrated by the delay in carrying out the repair work, which was due to be completed by the end of January.

“Twenty weeks have already elapsed since these disruptions began, and the trouble continues to the great inconvenience of everybody in Wannock, plus many people in Polegate, Jevington and Willingdon and visitors to all those places,” he said.

“Just how much longer will all this continue?”

Polegate MP and Transport Minister Norman Baker has also waded in to make sure the works are back on track.

“These are vital works in the long term interest of local residents and some disruption is inevitably necessary,” he said.

“It is certainly unfortunate that they have run behind schedule, but I have spoken today to South East Water and they have assured me that they foresee them being completed by the March 30.”

South East Water’s contractors have completed the main laying in Wannock Road and are making the final connections this week.

A spokeswoman for South East Water said, “Unfortunately construction has taken longer than anticipated due to the adverse weather conditions before Christmas, and also as a result of difficult ground conditions our contractors faced at the beginning of the year.

“South East Water apologises to both motorists and customers for the disruption caused by this scheme and the delays which have taken place, but – as this main has burst 14 times in the last 10 years – hope our customers understand the short term pain is worth the long term benefits this scheme will deliver as we look to secure tap water supplies and prevent further flooding and disruption caused by bursts.”