I thought I would update you on an important update regarding Silverwoods Way. As some of you will be aware, Silverwoods Way was due to be closed from 8th February for a month due to important sewage works. As the local County Councillor I spoke to Highways straight away and requested that this work be delayed so not to coincide with the Hoobrook Island works that had now started. On Monday this week Highways then liaised with the private contractor to defer these sewage works until August.
However, during this week it had become clear the importance of these sewage works and the ramifications if they are not delivered on time.
I didn’t appreciate at the time that these works are vital to the new factory being built for Barton Firtop who are relocating from Bromsgrove and any delay would seriously impact upon their opening date and their business model. Their developer, Benniman are due to hand over the building in mid April and the factory expect to be operational by the summer. Therefore any delay will be catastrophic to them, in terms of fulfilling orders and protecting jobs as they are vacating their existing premises.
Therefore, it’s a very difficult and sensitive issue and reluctantly highways and myself have had little choice but to issue Barton Firtop, Benniman and it’s contractors (Erris), a revised Section 50 works proposals to connect to an existing sewer and storm drain which have been endorsed by Worcestershire County Council:-
A reduced Road closure of Silverwoods Way from 8th Feb – 23rd Feb with
Two way temporary traffic signals from 23rd February to 12th March.
Highways have now granted this road space application subject to 7 days a week working and a minimum working day of 8am-5pm to minimise the disruption of these works. WCC will inspect the works for compliance on a regular basis.
We have worked closely with Barton Firtop to come to a compromise whereby Silverwoods Way is only closed for 2 weeks instead of the original 4 weeks. These works must require a road closure for part of the scheme on safety grounds as they involve deep excavation that will require shuttering within the carriageway.
I appreciate that the timing is not ideal with the start of the Hoobrook works and closure of Silverwoods Way will undoubtedly cause disruption but we had to take onboard the consideration of Barton Firtop and their business needs. Barton Firtop had indicated that a delay to their occupation of this site would have caused a huge impact to business as existing premises are being vacated. If they waited until later in the year to move into their new premises, they could have be faced with lost business that may have then led to local Job losses. As a local authority we obviously couldn’t be responsible for that scenario.
Also it’s important to point out that lockdown measures have seen a reduction of 30% to 35% in traffic levels and lockdown looks like it will continue certainly until the end of February if not into March.
I thought I would give you the full facts and explain in depth how we arrived at this decision and it’s one that Iv been involved in and looking at all the facts it’s one I have agreed to as I believe there is no other option. This demonstrates the importance of cross sector working to find a solution that works as well as can be for all involved. I appreciate it’s not ideal but sadly there is no option.