A pensioner says his street has been turned into a scene akin to war-torn Syria because of fibre-optic broadband roadworks. David Smith, 69, of Aylesbury Road off Trinity Road in Kennington, said workmen have dug up paths and verges and caused chaos for residents for the past month. Virginmedia is bringing fast broadband to residents in the area, but Mr Smith believes that his fellow neighbours are happy with other providers and don’t need the hassle.
The roadworks in Aylesbury Road, Ashford
He said: “They haven’t told us and there was no consultation from Kent Highways about the roadworks. We’ve had diggers, lorries, vans, compressors, it’s been like World War Three.
“It has caused mess and obstructions for everyone, with dust and drilling, and our ward councillor says the borough council didn’t know it was about to happen.
“We just had a note through our door from Virginmedia about it saying that they won’t be around for any longer than they need to be. David Smith says the roadworks have turned residents’ lives “upside down”
“But no one can park, there’s mess all over everyone’s cars, deep trenches have been dug, and nobody here even wants it. It would be cleaner in Syria than it is here. It’s diabolical, they have just blitzed us.
“I thought roadworks were for essential services, I don’t think they should ever have gained permission, our paths will never be the same again.”
Trenches were dug outside Mr Smith’s home
Kent County Council Highways said the roadworks were published on the list of scheduled works, and a spokesman said the authority was not aware of any complaints. Virginmedia spokesman Verity Henderson said the roadworks in Aylesbury Road are due to finish this week, and said the company is putting in the fast broadband to give millions of homes and business access to the service. She added: “As we do so, we endeavour to minimise disruption to local communities and are working with our contractors to ensure that work is carried out with professionalism and at the highest standard.
“In this case, we notified the residents of Aylesbury Road in advance of the work taking place and we apologise for the inconvenience we may have caused.”
Sherington Parish Council would like to respond to the Strategic Development Consultation Document. The document outlines four options for the future development of Milton Keynes. In the opinion of Sherington Parish Council Intensification and Redevelopment of the Urban area and Development to the South West are better options than Development East of the M1 and Satellite Towns in the rural area . Our favoured option would be within the present urban area, the first option mentioned. This should create a truly urban feel to Milton Keynes as opposed to a more suburban expansion over a larger area ( Development to the SouthWest).
The Parish Council is not against additional housing in the village as can be seen from the work being done with the Neighbourhood Plan but this would be in keeping with the preservation of a village and nowhere near what is envisaged for a pleasant rural area in the options for expansion east of the M1 motorway, or of the development of satellite towns in the rural area. There are a number of reasons for favouring the urban area option.
- Sherington, along with many other north Buckinghamshire locations , is a rural village that people have chosen to live in because it is just that.
- The majority of the transport links are to the west and south of the urban area, not to the north and east where Sherington lies.
- There is no infrastructure in the rural area so this would have to be started from scratch and there would be considerable disruption before any housing could be contemplated. It seems pertinent to take advantage of the pre-existing infrastructure of Milton Keynes. The infrastructure cost savings could be then be deployed in a quantum leap in public transport. For example tram, light railway or other public transport could be built to link the redeveloped urban areas to the centre of the city to reduce car movements and the congestion that these journeys cause.
- All of the other options would involve discussion with neighbouring authorities with inevitable delays.
- The report highlights that around 1750 new homes need to be built each year until 2031. If Sherington took 5000 houses that would be less than three years allocation so this model would have to be repeated many times in the rural area to satisfy demand, destroying each
rural location as the plan progressed.
- Intensification is an opportunity to replace poor quality housing with state of the art urban living spaces. New developments should be environmentally efficient and carefully mixed to promote better social cohesion.
Full involvement of Neighbourhood Plans should be encouraged in this.
- Urban development plays into emerging future behaviour and technology trends. The rise of Uber is reducing car ownership by the young urban dwellers in other cities such as London , Paris, New York. Why not Milton Keynes?
In conclusion Intensification and Redevelopment of the Urban area would allow the rural villages to remain villages while being adjacent to a modern vibrant city with all the facilities that the urban area has and would have. The North Bucks villages and their countryside should also remain an unspoilt amenity to the benefit of the city dwellers. These areas should be designated as Green Belt and the villages protected from insensitive development through use of Neighbourhood Plans which embrace the purpose of these villages as places for people to live and urban citizens to enjoy.
Looking at the even bigger picture of the country as a whole should Milton Keynes along with most of the south east of the country be considered for further large scale development causing ever more congestion and widening of the North/South divide?