SES Water has cancelled its plans for major works on the water mains that will have closed a quarter-mile stretch of the A22 Godstone Road at Purley for three months.
Announcing the abandonment of the works, SES Water today said it was because some other “key parties” withdrew their support for the project and so “we are no longer in a position to carry out the work this year”.
SES Water has not identified who these “key parties” might be, though as the stretch of road is in Greater London, they will have been working with Croydon and Transport for London. So it seems probable that both decided to pull the plug on the major road closure following the public outcry over the scheme.
With the coronavirus lockdown about to be lifted, any advantage to carrying out the works while shops were closed and traffic has been reduced has been lost.
“We apologise for any confusion this situation has caused,” is the somewhat embarrassing statement on the SES Water website.
The poorly-consulted project had been expected to last three months and cause considerable delays and diversions. First, they were due to begin last Monday. Then they postponed until next week.
Locals had only found out about the works by accident, with less than a week’s notice. The recommended diversions involved driving up to Caterham on the Hill and down into Coulsdon or M25 as far as Junction 7.
Inside Croydon published our report on the road closures on May 14. SES Water today say that they only got agreement to go-ahead with the works on May 15. Today, May 23, they’ve decided not to proceed after all.
SES Water – what was once known as the Sutton and East Surrey water board – has taken the decision only reluctantly.
The project, officially described as “very important”, involved connecting a new main along Godstone Road between the entrance of the Purley Tesco store and the northern junction of Dale Road.
“We understand that closing a major road like the A22 will never be welcome which is why we planned the work during the lockdown period when many businesses are closed and traffic volumes are significantly reduced,” SES Water said.
“However, this work is no longer going ahead and will be deferred to next year.
“Many parties were involved in the planning and authorisation of these essential works and we received the final confirmation of go-ahead on Friday, May 15, following which we wrote to over 3,000 customers to explain the implications.
“A few days later, support from some key parties was unfortunately retracted meaning that we are no longer in a position to carry out the work this year.”
SES Water promise that next time, they will write to customers with more information when they have details of what they call “the revised timescale” next year.
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