Council can’t repair Kenley road because of ‘wrong sort of tar’

Nearly a year after complaints were first lodged about the pitted and pot-marked state of a road in Kenley, repair work has yet to commence, as MICHAEL SHACKLETON reports

Badly word and rutted, Valley Road in Kenley offers a rough ride for road users

Badly worn and rutted, Valley Road in Kenley offers a rough ride for road users

Croydon Council’s list of excuses for not resurfacing one crumbling road in the south of the borough have come thick and fast over the past year.

The state of the carriageway in Valley Road, Kenley, has been a bugbear for residents for several years as it has grown to resemble something like the crack-covered surface of the moon.

Around October last year one concerned local wrote to the council to enquire when the “Third World” road surface might be due some attention, only to be assured there was a “backlog” of jobs but the work would commence shortly.

Come November 26 – three weeks after an email from the same resident – a second explanation was received citing “dodgy” tar.

A council officer told a resident: “Concerning the resurfacing of Valley Road, Kenley, unfortunately the resurfacing has been delayed due to recent examination of the carriageway has shown that the road structure contains tar in its makeup.

“Under new legislation the Council has a responsibility to dispose of tar bound asphalt in a manner which is acceptable with the Environmental Agency, therefore the Council are in negotiation with a contractor who will be able to dispose of the effected asphalt.”

Who laid the troublesome tar in the first place? We never did find out.

The festive season passed and a third excuse was offered to the same concerned resident in an email dated February 3 – this time citing “freezing weather” for the lack of work.

“Unfortunately due to the weather over the past month or so we are running behind on our programme, as you can appreciate that it is not ideal conditions to resurface during raining or freezing conditions. It is still my intention to resurface Valley Road from Waverley Road to Hawkhurst Road.”

Further excuses followed in March and in April with depressing regularity as the resident pointed out similar issues on nearby roads such as Foxley, Hawkhirst, Church, Beckett and Burcott Roads as well as Pollards Hill South in the north of the borough.

On March 3 the same council officer wrote: “Concerning your earlier enquiry early this year relating to Valley Road resurfacing, I do appreciate your concerns, as a result there will be a meeting with myself. Senior management and our contractors this Thursday to ascertain why there is still a delay regarding the resurfacing of Valley Road, I will update you regarding the outcome of this meeting .”

The promised update was, like the road repairs, never forthcoming.

Freezing temperatures, the wrong sort of tar and a backlog of work: what will be Croydon Council's next excuse for the state of Valley Road?

Freezing temperatures, the wrong sort of tar and a backlog of work: what will be Croydon Council’s next excuse for the state of Valley Road?

And on April 10 – as our source became increasingly exasperated – the officer went on: “I can understand your frustration regarding the resurfacing, however may I reassure you that we are trying our upmost [sic] to resolve this issue for you. Unfortunately as I mentioned earlier in my previous emails that we are still in negations with our principle contractor in resolving the tar issue in Valley Road, this is proving to be very difficult as they need to resource a specialised sub-contractor to carry out these works.”

In a final attempt to get something done, the resident wrote to the newly elected Conservative MP, Chris Philp, in May to ask if he could intervene on behalf of residents.

Philp wrote back confirming he had “raised the poor condition of Valley Road, the Director of Streets at Croydon Council has advised that he has asked the highways inspector to inspect the road and to update me accordingly”.

It is now mid-August. Three emails and two phone calls later, and Croydon Council has still not responded to requests for a progress report. Or a lack of progress report.

Replies can take up to “10 working days” apparently.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to Council can’t repair Kenley road because of ‘wrong sort of tar’

  1. The “Tar” they are referring to was a by product of making Town Gas prior to the 1980’s. It should not be confused with the bitumen that is now used for road surfacing. Bitumen is a product made from oil. Tar based surfacing is now considered as Hazardous Waste and needs specialist precautions as the tar is carcinogenic. It seems that Croydon is having problems finding a suitable contractor.

    Tarmac and Tarmacadam are still names in common use but fortunately they no longer contain tar

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