Sidmouth gas works cancelled

PUBLISHED: 10:05 17 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:16 17 June 2010

SIDMOUTH traders are relieved that major gasworks which were due to disrupt the town for three months have been cancelled. Preparatory work began on January 5 by Wales and West Utilities (WWU) to replace old metal pipes that were nearing the end of their

SIDMOUTH traders are relieved that major gasworks which were due to disrupt the town for three months have been cancelled.

Preparatory work began on January 5 by Wales and West Utilities (WWU) to replace old metal pipes that were nearing the end of their lifespan.

But work was stopped after it was discovered the pipes were made of a material more robust than what they had believed.

A spokesman for WWU said: "The work scheduled for Sidmouth was part of a multi-million pound 30-year replacement programme where old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with highly durable, non-corroding plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years.

"However, investigations have shown that the mains in Sidmouth are made of steel rather than the usual cast iron.

"The risk of erosion with steel pipes is greatly reduced and the planned works have been postponed for the foreseeable future."

Traders had feared that the works would cause major disruption although they were allayed when Devon County Council assured them that works on the High Street would only take two weeks.

Derek Parry, president of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, said: "Anything that interferes with people's access to shops and offices in the town centre is unwelcome at any time. When the business climate is unfavourable it is even less welcome.

"But having said that I do recognise the fact that major works have to be carried out as the last thing we want is a gas explosion on the High Street.

"Obviously we are very pleased that their will not be any disruption after all."

Richard Eley, owner of Delderfields, said: "It is very good news. I complained to the County Council as they failed to give us three months notice on the works.

"Had they done so I feel sure that there would have been a number of local people inform them at a much earlier time that the pipes were steel rather than iron."

DCC refused to comment but it is believed the council is not responsible for issuing notice of the works when they are being carried out by another body.

A WWU spokesman confirmed that statutory notice of three months is only given to local authorities and not residents.


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