Our works in Belton are unfortunately overrunning owing a number of factors, including ground conditions and the sheer number of other utility services in the terrain. The ground conditions and a high water table have meant that our teams have had to deploy extra trench support and spent more time than anticipated digging in their working area. I have attached a presentation the project team and I gave to Bradwell Parish Council on 25th April, which contains a bit more information on this and the overall progress of the scheme.
Moreover, the area is heavily congested with other utilities’ networks, like water supply, telecoms and power infrastructure. As a result of this, our teams are having to hand dig around them so as to ensure we do not cause damage to their operations. These factors have complicated our work and have had a knock on impact on the time we had initially allocated. As such, we are taking long than we would have liked to working in the area.
Anglian Water have not carried out a previous scheme in the area, therefore I think you may be referring to a water supply scheme undertaken by Essex and Suffolk Water. Moving forward, we are working on building closer channels of communication with other utility companies so that we can share knowledge and experiences on factors that could affect our working, such as ground conditions, with each other in advance of undertaking works in the ground.
We are constantly looking at our resourcing taking whatever measures we can to speed things up. Our teams are already working extended working hours - 7am - 5pm Monday to Friday, and 7am - 3pm on Saturdays. If we were to increase this further, it would have an unfair impact on our customers in the vicinity of the working in terms of noise and disruption. Simply having more teams on the ground does not necessarily correlate faster working, particularly in such a congested environment. We have different teams to deliver different parts of the project and these cannot all be carried out simultaneously. However, please be assured we are deploying extra resources as and when we can, and is appropriate.
On the traffic management, we have agreed alterations at Stepshort and New Road with Norfolk Highways. We are distributing letters to our customers in the area in the next day or so outlining the following:
We are requesting the road closure be extended until the 17th June, however, we will remove the closure and reopen the road between Friday 26th May and Monday 5th June so as to avoid causing disruption during the Half Term Holiday.
When we clear the road for the bank holiday and half term, we will need to put 2-way lights outside the pumping station, as we did at Easter. The removal of works will help to minimise disruption to businesses, residents and road users whilst there is an increased tourist presence during the half term period. While this will slow our progress temporarily, as we will need to reinstate the road for it to be temporarily reopened, I am sure you will agree that this is the best approach in order to ensure that Belton residents and businesses can live and trade as freely as possible during this peak period.
We are requesting to extend the 2-way traffic lights until the 20th May. We’ll continue to monitor our works and ensure that this is sufficient time to complete on this road.
Moving forward, we are continuing our engagement with local stakeholders and customers. In addition to our previous community updates, we are continuing to distribute letters communicating our traffic management plans and talking to local businesses. We recently presented and answered questions at Bradwell Parish council’s meeting on 25th April (the attached presentation), and we will be attending Bradwell community fete in June to further our engagement.
In Belton, I have been communicating directly with the parish council and a number of other councillors, responding to questions and concerns raised.
I have also offered to attend, along with members of the project team, Belton PC’s next parish meeting to update the council on progress of the works and answer questions, but this offer was declined. Of course, offer remains open as we want to work with the community in the same way we have with Bradwell PC.
While the delays are not what we, or the community, would want to see, and we do apologise for this, we are delivering a critical £3million scheme to reduce flood risk which some in the community did not believe would even happen. This scheme will secure the future economic development of the Bradwell, Belton and Burgh Castle area community by increasing the resilience of the drainage infrastructure. However, we are taking a little longer than we had initially planned and we are taking all steps we can to get this delivered in a timely manner whilst minimising disruption to the community.
We very much appreciate the patience and understanding of the community and we will continue to keep local stakeholders updated on our progress.