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Road closure causes chaos in Branscombe

15:23 23 November 2012

The road closed sign on the approach to Branscombe. Photo by Terry Ife ref shb 4343-46-12TI

The road closed sign on the approach to Branscombe. Photo by Terry Ife ref shb 4343-46-12TI


Branscombe residents were trapped in their houses after “bonkers” emergency repair work blocked the village’s main road for an hour last Thursday.

Others found their destinations out of reach when unmarked roadworks sent them on vague diversions around the village.

South West Water (SWW) contracted infrastructure maintenance company May Gurney to fix a burst water pipe near the Fountain Head pub.

There was disruption to the main thoroughfare for much of last week.

Andrea Bass, of Hillside, said: “If anyone had needed a fire engine or an ambulance, they would’ve been stuffed.”

She said that she wasn’t able to go and meet her mum, and voters were disrupted in placing their ballots for the Police and Crime Commissioner election.

On Tuesday Andrea was unable to take her child to preschool because the route she expected to be clear was blocked.

Andrea said the roadworks had advanced up the street but the same ‘road ahead closed’ sign was displayed, and the residents weren’t informed of the development.

She added: “It wouldn’t take them two minutes to put a sign up.

“Every time they try to fix a hole, another springs up – it’s a bit bonkers.”

Teresa Hoare, from the Fountain Head pub, said last Thursday she had had to phone South West Water repeatedly to get any workers to arrive.

“It’s a recurring problem – it’s been going on for weeks,” she added.

“People are fed up with trying to get down.”

She said business had been damaged by the road closure and the reduced water pressure, which she was told wouldn’t be resolved until Monday.

A spokesman for SWW said: “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused during our emergency work on a burst water main in Branscombe.

“The burst was difficult to pinpoint which meant we needed to dig a number of trial holes.

“Although the intention was to maintain access for residents, at one point during reinstatement, access was blocked in both directions.

“When we learned of the problems this caused for Mrs Bass we gave her a personal apology.”

Repairs to the water main were completed last Friday afternoon, as SWW predicted.


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