RESIDENTS are angry at the ‘catastrophic blunder’ made by the Environment Agency which has left them without proper access to their homes for what will be six weeks – instead of just one day.
The Environment Agency (EA) has hired contractors to carry out works at Hulbert Road in Waterlooville, where the culvert (pipe which carries water) that runs under the road, is being replaced.
Those living at the cul-de-sac were told by the EA work would begin on October 22 and the road would be closed for one day at the end of the six weeks.
Instead, work began on November 12 with the road closing straight away, meaning residents had to move their cars elsewhere last-minute.
The EA has apologised and said as the project developed it became clear the whole site would be needed for the six weeks.
Resident Nigel Cooke said: ‘Having the work done isn’t the problem, it’s how the agency has dealt with it.
‘How do you confuse a one-day road closure with needing to close it for six weeks? The EA has got it catastrophically wrong.
‘Nobody knew how bad the works would be, I work from home so this is hugely disruptive. People should have been offered alternative accommodation.
‘The guys here are working so hard to get the work done – it’s not their fault. It’s the EA’s handling of this whole thing.
‘How would you get a fire engine to a property here?’
The EA has contracted AMCO to carry out the works.
Residents received a temporary road closure notice from Havant Borough Council on November 22, backdated to November 12, which stated access to Hulbert Road would be prohibited for 42 days.
Martin Small, 70, lives at Hulbert Close and said: ‘The one-day road closure was supposed to be at the end of the six weeks so they could re-surface the road.
‘We were told we’d have access at all time apart from that one day. We had to move our vehicles elsewhere on November 13.
‘We know the work has to be done and that’s fine, but we should have been consulted first.
‘We should have been told the scale of the activity. They should have given us the opportunity to relocate somewhere.’
A spokesman for the EA said: ‘With our contractors AMCO, we organised and held a meeting for residents to take them through progress so far and to address their concerns.
‘We accept our earlier communication should have been better and fully understand and sympathise with those residents who have been inconvenienced by the works.
‘We believed initially that we would only be disrupting access for a very short period. Unfortunately as the project developed it became clear that the whole site would be needed for the six weeks.’
The spokesman said project is expected to finish before Christmas, but if it does not, it will be stopped and access provided during this period.
Resident Tony Hamilton isn’t bothered by the inconvenience and said: ‘I’m totally happy the work’s being done, it needs to be, we’ve all moved our vehicles but it’s not a problem.’