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Highclere villagers demand answers over water mains work

Installation works have dragged on five months

Jane Meredith

Reporter:

Jane Meredith

Contact:

01635 886637

LONG-suffering Highclere residents are demanding answers over water mains works which have dragged on for five months.

Highclere villager Kevin Pearson said he and many others were tired of the “massive disruption” that had ensued since Southern Water contractors started to lay the new mains last November.

“The work has progressed in small stages over the months and the contractors appear to have three or four men on site, occasionally, who do small areas then disappear for a while,” said Mr Pearson.

“The village is littered with fencing and road closed signs, which are nonsense. There are piles of spoil and big holes everywhere.

“The numerous water-filled holes have forced cars, vans and lorries to destroy the verges and their floral content, and the mud, everywhere, is a disgrace, particularly after rain.

“I have spoken to numerous personnel at Southern Water and they say they hope to get the work done by the end of April, but I have my doubts.

“We had a lovely village, and the need for service improvements is very welcome, but why is it taking so long?”

Southern Water representatives were unable to attend last Tuesday’s Highclere Parish Council meeting, although they did provide a written update on the work.

Parish councillor Jane Smith said contractors had informed her they would lay gravel to restore the pathway in Pantings Lane as a goodwill gesture, where it was “becoming a bog”.

She added that contractors had also done a good job to restore matters, after digging up a hole outside her driveway.

Councillors agreed to ask representatives of Southern Water to attend the April parish council meeting.

Southern Water spokeswoman Leilah Nicola said that a 3.6km water main was being replaced, following a high number of bursts in Highclere.

She said: “When starting the project last autumn, we estimated it would take around 30 weeks. We’re currently on track to finish the project in May, ahead of schedule.

“All grass verges in the areas we’ve been working will be top-soiled and grass-seeded to their original standard at the end of the project.”

Southern Water will send representatives to attend  the council’s meeting at Highclere Village Hall on April 10 (7pm).

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