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'There is no excuse' - anger as main road is closed for three days

PUBLISHED: 12:57 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 25 November 2019

Hockering residents, including parish councillors Richard Hawker and Rosemary Neave, say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street. Picture: Archant

Hockering residents, including parish councillors Richard Hawker and Rosemary Neave, say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street. Picture: Archant

Archant

A group of villagers are furious they were not given enough warning about work that has three times closed the main road.

Hockering residents say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street, disrupting an important bus route. Picture: ArchantHockering residents say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street, disrupting an important bus route. Picture: Archant

Residents in Hockering said Anglian Water had repeatedly carried out work on The Street without informing them beforehand.

They said it had happened on three occasions, resulting in the closure of the central road running through the village.

The most recent work - from November 14 to 16 - saw the water company dig up the road to repair a burst water main, preventing bus operator First from making its usual stop between Dereham and Norwich.

But parish councillor Richard Hawker said Anglian Water was aware of an issue more than a week earlier and failed to give appropriate notice.

Hockering residents say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street, disrupting an important bus route. Picture: ArchantHockering residents say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street, disrupting an important bus route. Picture: Archant

"The crux of the problem is Anglian Water closing the road without notice to do what they claim is emergency work," said Mr Hawker, 66.

"For cars it's not a massive issue so long as diversion signs are clear, but we are on a bus route. It's bad enough for passengers to receive no notice, but the bus company didn't know either.

"The road was completely closed but I think there was enough room for a bus to creep past every hour."

Having been informed The Street was blocked, First arranged an alternative bus stop elsewhere in Hockering.

Hockering residents say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street, disrupting an important bus route. Picture: ArchantHockering residents say Anglian Water failed to give appropriate notice of roadworks on The Street, disrupting an important bus route. Picture: Archant

But parish councillors did the legwork, attaching a notice to the regular bus stop telling unsuspecting passengers to wait in a different location.

Following this latest frustration, Mr Hawker said Anglian Water must improve its communication with those affected by its projects.

"The bus company and the parish council need to know when this work is happening. Before the days of telephones that would've been more challenging, but there is no real excuse these days."

An Anglian Water spokesman said: "Unfortunately, as the repair was vital to ensure the water supply for the area, work was completed under an emergency road closure granted by the local highways authority.

"We would always prefer to give advanced warning, but in this instance there wasn't enough time to notify residents.

"We're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and would like to thank local residents for their patience."

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