As Mayor of Yarmouth, I respond to the concerns of local people. We all understand the need to do the work at Bouldnor to ensure that Yarmouth is not cut off.
To enable people to understand why things are being done and why roads are being closed, Island Roads has a responsibility to inform people accurately what is going to be done and when, so that they can plan to get on with their lives despite the works. As tax payers, we are paying for the work.
Two week closure changed to seven weeks
Last October we were informed that the roads were to be closed for two weeks. Local residents and businesses understood and accepted the closure as a consequence of the work. However, Island Roads decided without further consultation that they needed to shut the road for seven weeks, until at least April 4th.
Various excuses were given about wind, rain and the involvement of British Gas and Southern Electricity. These reasons lack credibility. If the work was planned properly these issues would have been taken into account before work started.
The Bouldnor road closure was advertised as starting at 9.00am on Monday February 17th but, without explanation, the road was closed at about 7.00am.
I phoned IWC to complain on behalf of those affected, to be told that IR regulate their own road closures.
The issue of access for emergency services whilst the road was closed was raised because IR had not contacted the RNLI. It appears that IR had informed by e mail other emergency services, but actual access arrangements had not been made.
IR agreed with the ambulance service that they would give them the access code to two sets of gates to get through at night. This unsatisfactory arrangement was not put in place.
Night work on closed road
Tennyson Road was closed in order to be resurfaced, with the work done mostly at night ‘so as not to disrupt through traffic during the day’. There was no through traffic, as the road was closed, so residents were kept awake all night unnecessarily, by work which could have been done by day.
Three main issues arise, which need to be addressed to ensure other villages and towns across the Island do not suffer damage to businesses and lifestyles, as has Yarmouth.
- Island Roads failure to plan adequately how the work was going to be done and how long it was going to take.
- IR failure to consult with the local community and to communicate effectively.
- The IWC is not exercising proper control over how IR delivers the PFI contract
Lack of monitoring
When the PFI contract was awarded to IR, staff involved in setting it up retired from the Council. Some moved directly to assist IR deliver the contract, leaving, in my view, the IWC short of experienced staff to monitor IR.
With IR in possession of a 25 year contract, the IW Council needs to take control to protect the IW Council taxpayers.