TWENTY months after being closed by a landslide, Hill Head Road is finally expected to reopen at the end of the week.
A stretch of the waterfront road in Hill Head sheared off in January 2010 and 100 yards of the road has been closed off with a detour through a residential estate in place ever since.
But local businesses and people have criticised the length of time it has taken Hampshire County Council to complete the repairs.
Joint chairman of the Hill Head Residents’ Association Bill Hutchinson said: ‘It’s been 82 weeks for an 11-week repair.
‘It looks like a perfectly satisfactory repair, but we believe this could have been easily done much quicker.
‘The council has forgotten its primary duty is to the public. It’s been bureaucrats running things to satisfy bureaucrats.
‘They should have done the repairs first and addressed the question of liability later.’
The council has blamed the delays on legal arguments with residents affected by the landslip over who is liable to pay for the repairs.
The association has lodged a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman over the council’s handling of the incident.
Maria Lewis, pictured, opened the Breezes cafe six months before the landslide happened, leaving her fledgling business opposite the affected area cut off from passing trade.
She said: ‘It’s only taken them 10 weeks to do the actual works and they’ve gone very smoothly – I can’t fault them for that. But the way the council acted before that has been disgusting. I can’t forgive them for what they did – it has ruined my life. Even now it’s two weeks late reopening, so we’ll only get the last couple of weeks of the summer holiday. This is the period where we need to make our money.’
Councillor Mel Kendal, who is in charge of transport matters, said every effort was made to minimise disruption and added: ‘We’re fully aware of residents’ concerns regarding the length of time that the traffic diversion had to be in place and would like to thank them for their patience while this essential work was undertaken.’