Saturday, 28 January 2012

A prompt response from Tower Hamlets Street Works

MERA has had two responses to the blog posts and emails sent to various council officers, councillors and Optimise
  • On Friday, MERA received an email and photos (see below) from a Tower Hamlets Street Works Officer following the despatch of emails to various parties within LB Tower Hamlets
  • On Thursday we got an acknowledgement of our email from Optimise - but no proper response to date.
We're grateful for the prompt response -  but have some issues we still want to pursue.  Read the Street Works email and our comments below.

Brokesley Street 16.45pm (after the contractors had gone home)
- the work is still not complete,
the road has not been cleaned to remove soil debris as required by the planning conditions
Street Works photo
Footpath Closed - but does this have a current permit?
Street Works Photo 26 January 2012

Hello Mile End Residents, following the receipt of your concerns and complaints yesterday I visited Brokesley St and took the attached photos.

These are TW-Optimise works - being undertaken by the section known as 'Developer Services', carried out by a Statutory Undertaker under the terms and conditions of NRSWA - New Roads and Streetworks Act.

As a Statutory Undertaker TW have the right to place and maintain apparatus within the Highway - and under their governing body, OFWAT, have the duty to maintain this supply, and also the duty to respond to a reasonable request for a supply connection.

These works are however monitored generally by the Highways Authority and subject to the Codes of Practise. These codes require the Undertaker to Notice these works, carry them out to a standard of reinstatement and again generally to complete works without undue delay, minimise disruption to road users, and where the access to a frontage is affected to allow for consultation before works start, (unless works are deemed to be 'Emergency' or 'Urgent').

Following discussion with Optimise personnel I understand these works were to have been carried out without closing the road formally and best maintain access for residents by suspending Parking Bays. To minimise the time on site the JCB 'Digger' was used where possible, the gang being aware of the need to maintain Emergency Service access at all times and able to move this vehicle if required.

It does appear that works were carried out after the formal Bay Suspensions were removed and this is a matter that will be discussed with Optimise to establish what went wrong here and how they propose to avoid a repeat in future.

We will continue to be aware of these works and the potential to cause concern to residents and the works will be monitored for any failing with regard to the specification following reinstatement.

Please let me know if you have any comments, and if you have further concerns regarding future Statutory Undertakers works in Brokesley St do not hesitate to contact the Streetworks section - if you can attach photos it does help, thanks, regards, CNH.

Charlie Harrison
Street Works Officer
CLC Streetworks
London Borough of Tower Hamlets

The officer does not address:
  • the planning conditions relating to no access/no parking allowed by vehicles associated with construction (as these are - even if they are a utility company)
  • the parking of vehicles on double yellow lines as indicated in previous posts (which as the Council's own policy highlights cannot be suspended)
  • the parking of vehicles within suspended parking bays - not allowed as per the Council's own policy (ie the bays were suspended for access not for use by vehicles working on site)
  • the lack of consultation with residents about how the works were to be conducted and the potential for the road to be completely obstructed 
  • the inconvenience caused to residents by works taking place AFTER the parking bay suspension finished.  He recognises that requires further enquiry.
The Works are not Complete - but have no completion date
No permit number displayed re pavement closure
How does this comply with the Code of Practice? 
Compare to photo (below) of sign as at 26 January 2012 8.47am 
(Street works photo)
Optimise Notice photographed 26 January 2012 8.47am
Stated Completion date 27 January 2012
Permit Number 74YSYF
In addition three more matters not previously raised will also be pursued 
  1. the fact that the Optimise Notice now has no permit number and no completion date despite the fact the pavement is still closed (which was not the case prior to the works)
  2. the absence of any Notice of the Council order to close the pavement (Should it be closed at all?  When will it be open again?)
  3. the failure to mark the Optimise road works in the manner as required by the planning permission / Code of Practice (no lights at night earlier in the week when they were in the road, fences fell over on a regular basis)
We're also still wondering why none of the irregularities in relation to parking bay suspensions and parking on double yellow lines got picked up by the parking wardens.

We'll be corresponding further to ensure there are no further repercussions of this serious disregard of the interests of local residents and the contractor's breaches of the law and the Council's own policy on parking suspensions.

To date MERA has not received any acknowledgement or reply from any of the Ward Councillors or Development Control.


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