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With 107 jobs in 18 months, is this Norfolk's most roadworks-hit village?

PUBLISHED: 14:36 27 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:07 27 June 2018

New Road at Hethersett, one of the many roads worked on in the village Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

New Road at Hethersett, one of the many roads worked on in the village Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Few things are more frustrating for motorists than yet another set of roadworks.

Liz Hovey, manager of Hodge Podge gift shop in Hethersett. Picture: David HannantLiz Hovey, manager of Hodge Podge gift shop in Hethersett. Picture: David Hannant

However, people living in one village have more right to complain than others, with 107 sets in fewer than 18 months.

In the first four months of 2018, there were just two working days in which Hethersett’s roads were completely clear of at least one set of roadworks.

And this came after a 2017 in which not one month was completely free of projects - be it work carried out by councils, gas firms, water companies or 
others.

Now, villagers, businesses and people working in the village have spoken of their impact.

Hethersett road sign Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Hethersett road sign Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Liz Hovey, manager of Hodge Podge gift shop, said: “There was a period where people just could not get to us.

“In my personal experience there was a time I had to drive my mother to the doctors and it took more than 10 minutes. Usually it takes two minutes.”

Martin Roberts, who runs the Hethersett Butchers, said: “It is impossible to say how much it affected business, but it was bound to have some impact.

“I know for a fact some people just did not come in because of the disruption.”

A beautician working in the village, who did not want to be named, said on several occasions clients were either late for their appointments or had to cancel as a result.

They said: “It is frustrating the companies doing the works did not appear to be talking to each other. There had to be a way of doing all the works in one go rather than one after the other.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “It is our responsibility to coordinate activities on the public highway so the road and infrastructure under the surface can be maintained at the minimum inconvenience to the travelling public.

“The considerable amount of development progressing in the area have made roadworks a necessity, and we have done everything we reasonably could to coordinate roadworks.

“We have received a normal level of feedback in response to the works and have neither received nor granted any requests for compensation.”

In numbers

A freedom of information request has revealed the full extent of Hethersett’s roadworks nusiance.

Between September 24, 2017 and May 14, 2018, there was just one week in which no roadworks were carried out in the village - unsurprisingly, Christmas week.

In the first four months of 2018, there were only two working days where no works were carried out - Tuesday, January 2 and Wednesday, January 3.

Between January 2017 and May 2018, the village saw a total of 107 different roadworks, ranging from cycle path projects, to gas repairs and resurfacing.

Gas works proved a particularly frequent occurrences, with the most recent works carried out by Cadent Gas Ltd on Norwich Road lasting from Monday, February 26 until Tuesday, May 8.

The same company had previously carried out works on the same piece of road for a week between April and May 2017, and a further period over October and November 2017.

Your views

The consensus among people in the village was that the roadworks posed a constant source of frustration.

Michael Smith, 76, of Recreation Road, said: “The roadworks made it a nightmare to get in and out of the village.

“The impact on buses really hit me - I don’t think the drivers knew whether they were coming or going as they had to go from one diversion to the next. It had a massive impact.”

Keith Sutton, 61, who lives in Newton Flotman but works three days a week in the village, said: “I have been coming in and out of the village for more than 30 years and never knew it to be that bad. It was a nuisance.”

A 71-year-old woman who lives on Lyngate Close and did not wish to be named, said: “It seems as though as soon as one set finished, another began, It was not pleasant at all.”

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