Anger after gas pipe laying

PEOPLE living in Halesworth have been left annoyed, distressed and hit financially following gas pipe laying in the area, a leading councillor said.Peter Aldous, who represents Halesworth on Suffolk County Council, has received so many complaints from local residents that he has written to the chairman of Transco Plc which carried out the work.

PEOPLE living in Halesworth have been left annoyed, distressed and hit financially following gas pipe laying in the area, a leading councillor said.

Peter Aldous, who represents Halesworth on Suffolk County Council, has received so many complaints from local residents that he has written to the chairman of Transco Plc which carried out the work.

In his letter to Sir John Parker Mr Aldous lists some of the main concerns following the work.

Transco workers have been laying new mains gas pipes along the town's Saxon Way relief road and The Thoroughfare in the town centre since autumn 2002.


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The work has finished but will start again in September once a series of annual civic events have taken place over the summer.

"Whilst generally the installation of such new infrastructure is to be welcomed, the way that the project has been carried out has caused both annoyance, distress inconvenience and some financial penalties on those who live, work and shop in the town," writes Mr Aldous.

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He said that there was "very little" warning that the work was to take place and that as a result a large number of daffodil bulbs planted in the borders along Saxons Way were ripped out by workmen.

"I understand that you have agreed to provide new bulbs, but if everyone had been aware of your pending work then the planting would have been delayed," said Mr Aldous.

The work along Saxons Way took longer than expected because of problems using a new thrust boring technique. The specialised machinery broke down and there was a delay while replacements came from the United States.

"Surely a company such as yourselves should have equipment, so that projects can be completed causing as little interference as possible to road users and nearby residents and businesses.

"Subsequently the road has been left in a poorer condition than it was prior to the works and it is this renewal work that you will be returning to do in the autumn," said Mr Aldous.

The Conservative county councillor also raises serious questions over health and safety issues.

"From what I have seen with my own eyes and from what others have told me your supervisory and health and safety at work procedures should have been more robust.

"Barriers around trenches left open overnight and over weekends were regularly dismantled, though I do appreciate the problem of petty vandalism, leaving hazards for both motorists and pedestrians alike," said Mr Aldous.

Mr Aldous said Transco made it difficult for shopkeepers to claim compensation for loss of trade when workers cut through power cables forcing shops to close.

One trader was asked to supply details of his daily taking for the past three years and then told Transco were "unable to make any offer of compensation for what appears to be purely economic loss."

A bemused Mr Aldous said: "He, like me, is not sure as to what other form of loss he could have suffered in the circumstances."

Mr Aldous said he hoped his letter would draw attention to the concerns of the people of Halesworth and that Transco would review its procedures in the future.

A spokeswoman for Transco said the company had received the letter from Mr Aldous and was in the process of compiling a detailed reply.

"We take the matters raised by Mr Aldous extremely seriously and we will investigate everything most thoroughly.

"We will rectify any damage caused if this is considered appropriate," she said.

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