Saturday, 28 November 2009

Seven Hills Road - the latest from Southern Gas

On Friday, I attended the public consultation organised by Southern Gas on the gas works planned along Seven Hills Road between Walton/ Hersham and Cobham. There is widespread consternation about the disruption that will be caused to those using the road, the knock-on effects for congestion nearby and the clumsy handling of the issue. Over the last week or so, I have heard from numerous residents - and they were present in force at yesterday’s consultation meeting.

The room hired out by Southern Gas at the Cobham Hilton was strewn with detailed maps and technical experts - it looked like Montgomery’s preparation for the assault on El Alamein – but you can find the basic details here. The start date for the works has been put back to 28 December and – perhaps most importantly – the road will be closed for 12 weeks rather than 7 months. It does rather beg the question as to why this was not the plan in the first place.

I raised a range of questions with Southern Gas, seeking reassurances that the revised plan will minimise the disruption to residents and local traffic. Southern Gas indicated that they could not delay the works until the summer months – thereby taking advantage of the longer daylight to get the work done more quickly – because of the risk of such a delay to local gas supply. Whilst the public backlash has elicited a significant reduction in the period of closure, this issue has been poorly handled – yesterday’s public consultation coming too late to allay the frustration of many residents.


Richard Tebboth said...

Following the redevelopment around the Brooklands site, Seven Hills Road is often severely congested. It would be sensible to combine this major gas main repair with the construction of a dual carriageway.

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