Ladywell roadworks expected to drag on until Christmas

The BC style-guide frowns upon the use of newspaper-favourite words like "farce" and "fiasco", but in this case, we're happy to make an exception. The Ladywell town centre roadwork delays are reaching farcical proportions. Local resident Tony writes:

Ladywell businesses have written to Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock calling for an urgent meeting to discuss further delays to the completion of the street improvement works in the neighbourhood. Local business people, frustrated by the seemingly endless delays to the works that started in May, are worried that some businesses could go under because the disruption is causing a dramatic reduction in footfall.

Local businesses wrote to the Mayor in June when the the project first hit snags and was delayed. They were told the work would be completed by end- September. They are now being told it will be October, with workers on site saying it will be Christmas before the works are finished.

Shopowners say there is no sense of urgency in the work being carried out by the contractors Conway. Construction is progressing at a snails pace and activity is intermittent.

The businesses have called for an meeting with the Mayor to explain the serious impact the street works are now having on local businesses and to urge him to do all in his power to ensure Conway steps up the pace of the building work.

23 comments:

Michael said...

the upside of it all is that the area has a bit more of a village feel. one resident i heard in one of the cafes commented how he prefers not having all the traffic going down, and the busses that get redirected is quite good. Kinda agree with this sentiment.

Kerry said...

Wow, what on earth could they have so unexpectedly come across to cause a 5 month delay? Perhaps they didn't realise that digging so deep would actually expose the Earth's core.

RCH said...

I drove down there the other day from Lewisham High Street as thought "It's september, it will be open now" to find myself diverted up vicar's hill. To be fair, I know you can't drive through Ladywell Road still, but the place is hardly inaccessible. But the lack of people waiting for buses etc must be hurting businesses such as the corner shops, pharmacy, the new Patisserie (bet they are cursing this one), and the deli. I can't believe it has taken so long just to re-do a road. Mind you, I live in a house that took 8 months to renovate when they said it would take 2 and a half.

Walking the dog said...

The diverted traffic isn't great for Brockley, Tressilian Road of an
afternoon from 4.45pm is nightmarish in terms of driving, crossing the road
to get to Hilly Fields and so on for all concerned. Wish there was an old style Lollipop traffic guide.

Judge Rudy said...

you need to get these firms on fixed price contracts, and penalties if they over run.... it seems that no one contracted to do any kind of work for the council cares how long things will take, they know that once they have the contract they can keep on sucking at the teat of the council because they are too gutless to say 'right, you have taken too long, you are in breech of contract, get lost, you won't get paid and i'll get another firm in'....


this would make firms want to get in and out as soon as possible, they would stick a 30 strong workforce onto a job for a fortnight of 12 hour days instead of just one bloke sitting in a differ, another bloke leaning on a shovel watching to keep everyone in a 12 mile radius safe and a clerk of works monitoring the bloke watching to make sure he doesn't fall over (or whatever it is the two watchers and one worker are supposed to be doing)... its the same with any government run contract, its the same on motorways, mile after mile of coned off lanes for months or even a year or more with not one person doing any work behind them....


council contracts seem to be a licence to print money for these firms, they don't care how long the take to do a job, the council will just keep on paying...

tell these companies to get more workers on the job, at least people will see something being done with lots of people on site.... i have seen buildings around lewisham, catford and deptford seemingly get launched up, seemingly appearing overnight, but these are private sector jobs and in the private sector, time is money, whereas a council contract, seemingly, more time is more money....

WayToCon said...

*innocent face*

Would this be the same contractor responsible for the stairs at Brockley Station and the roadworks at Brockley Cross?

Monkeyboy said...

probably an NEC3 type of contact. you do need to be careful, fixed price can actually end up costing more than some other forms of contract. it can also mean less control over what the contractor does. would be interesting to see the deets.

Judge Rudy said...

i am quite sure that although some contracts may cost more, most people would see it as money well spent, to get stuff done....


the choice of quick but expensive as opposed to unspecified amount of time at an unspecified price is a far better option

Monkeyboy said...

it does sound like the kind of job that would have a fixed price, and it may well be that the contractor is bearing the cost. i really dont know but dont assume that its always the best form of contact for every constructuon job, the mean lean private sector uses the whole range of contact types as should the public sector (and they do)

the selction of the most appropriate type and administration off the let contract is where its at. fixed price means that the contactor will have built in risk and will pocket that if the risk events do not happen, thats our money. it leave little room for challange and they can still charge if a sufficiently unusual event occurs.

if the job is well defined and routine (this looks like it should have been) then a fixed price may well be fine.

look up NEC3 fom of contact if you want something to get you to sleep.

Judge Rudy said...

i am sure whatever contract they are on, there must be a clause in there that allows the council to say 'see that job we are paying you a fortune for doing, well, can you, erm, get it done...?'

and when a contractor is bearing the burden of over running or late work, in the afore mentioned private sector, they weigh up the situation and more often than not decide the best course of action is to pull in some subbies and crack on with it,...

and it goes without saying that the type and administration of this particular contract is far from appropriate, it seems that the council goose is impossible to shoot and just keeps on laying....

Conned said...

Conway must know where all the councils bodies are buried, because it defies belief that they are still be used as the contractor of choice by Lewisham. Every local job they have done from the station steps, which leech soil out of them, to the Brockley Cross works and the new pavements westside have each taken around 9 months to do, jobs that feasibly could be done in a fraction of the time. Shoddy work that overruns massively, workmen disappearing for weeks on end, and the whole thing presumably costing a fortune. Ladywell residents shouldn't hold their breath...

Judge Rudy said...

besides, they may well be working within the framework of their particular contract, doing everything they need to do to ensure getting paid, except of course, actually getting the job done....

Jameison said...

Im with 'conned' - why is the council not assessing feedback, and seriously questioning their use of Conway, who in our experiences as residents appear to only provide delayed and shoddy work. I imagine it is to do with the contract that has no teeth - similar to the Regenter PFI that sees the contractor ignoring all conservation area guidelines.

Rosie said...

Actually, the roadworks started in April. It's all very well having quiet roads, but Ladywell is like a ghost town and it's a huge concern that the businesses that are there won't be in business much longer.

It's also very dangerous for pedestrians and all forms of transport at the moment. There are inadequate-sized yellow plastic boards laid across some bits of ditch; a couple of weeks ago a boy of about 10 was trying to put the plastic 'bridge' back in place as it was so badly placed he'd tripped over it and it fell into the ditch.

There's no clear safe route for pedestrians to use to cross the road or to access the station, and hardly anything stopping people from walking through hastily moved barriers and falling into deep open holes. When the contractors are working, their plant vehicles move in and out of the barricaded areas with little warning and with little supervision or direction from their colleagues, so you often feel as though you're taking a chance about whether to dash from point to point.

Another problem is that the buses such as the 122 and P4 don't come along Ladywell Road, so it's harder to get to and from Ladywell and anyone who might have been on a bus passing through no longer does.

The 284 bus and 484 only stop at the upper stop of Vicar's Hill. Even though it's supposed to be 'hail and ride' after the preceding stop on Ladywell Road (on the 284), the first place you can get off is at the top of the hill. If you have shopping, mobility problems or simply high heels, it's a pain. A old man with crutches was nearly in tears when the bus driver wouldn't stop the bus further down the hill where it was safe to do so. We tried to help but he staggered down the hill.

anon said...

The increased traffic along Cliffview and around Hilly Fields Cresc is a real danger to anyone trying to cross the road during the morning, afternoon, and evening rush. I see new double yellow lines have appeared, 4 or 5 months too late, perhaps in the knowledge the works will drag on and on.

Aricana said...

i attend a yoga class by Hilly Fields at the weekend and with or without the windows open you can hear the frustration of drivers on diversion, with arguments breaking out and horns blasting. i also visited a cafe in Ladywell last week and it was deserted! I inwardly groan every time i see a Conway van because you know the work won't be completed on time and will most likely be of poor quality. It's obvious that the contractors don't have any regard for the communities they work in. It's time Lewisham Council actively sought a viable alternative.

thesp said...

amazing how much more pleasant places become when you free them from the bullish dominance of motor traffic.

HFC said...

Lewisham Council seems to have taken no account of the impact on those living on the diversion route. I live on Hilly Fields Crescent, which simply cannot cope with the level of traffic. My parked car has been bashed and it is often virtually impossible to get across the road to the park. Ambulances are trying to get through with their sirens wailing and the constant traffic noise is very unpleasant.


I would feel less NIMBY-ish if there was any sign of urgency in completing the road works.

Algernonian said...

How about we all bombard Conway and Lewisham Council with complaints? Two pronged approach. If enough of us complain and make enough noise about it, surely something will eventually happen (perhaps I'm being a bit naive) I like my little village with its great little shops and cafes. I refuse to sit back and let this shocking company and toothless lazy council destroy my neighbourhood. Who's with me?

terrencetrentderby said...

Lewisham Council is very cosy with those travellers.

El @ El'sKitchen said...

Myself and a small group of business owners in Ladywell are having a meeting with the Deputy Major (Cllr Allan Smith) and Ian Ransom (Head of Transport) tomorrow (Friday). We will be representing all businesses in Ladywell that have been directly or indirectly affected by the delays to the project.
In principle we are all in favour of the improvements to the streetscape improvements as the benefits it will bring to pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers who wish to park, as well as to the businesses, are great.
However, in the original document that was issued publically in March, the date for re-opening Ladywell Road was set at 7 June. Since then we have had no official communication about when that might be until this latest communication which states the road will re-open mid-October. Many of us cannot see how it will be possible for the contractors to meet this new deadline as they have still not finished the highway works on section 2, which has been closed for the best part of three months, and they have only just started digging up section 3.
The delays to this project are now starting to bite into many businesses budgets with some having already laid off staff to try and keep costs down while trying to ride out the loss of trade as long as they can. Footfall was down 16% in August and remains so for the beginning of September (I have been counting and documenting this, comparing it to the same time last year).
We are now taking legal advice and will determine,based on the outcome of the meeting tomorrow, if we have a claim against Lewisham Council for loss of business due to the delays. In order to make a claim we need to be in possession of the original schedule or works and the current schedule of works completed to date and the service level agreement with the contractor (Conway) detailing the penalty clauses. We can then make a claim against the Council for any money that has been and will be recovered by the Council from Conway as it should be used to compensate those who have lost out as a result of the delays (the local businesses, not the Council), as per the penalty clauses in the contract.
If the works continue past the end of October and the footfall remains as low as it is now it will be very difficult for many of the business to continue trading and those that rely on Christmas trade to survive the rest of the year will be teetering on the edge by January.
As business owners we all want to see a positive outcome from the works having taken place: the loss of trade being more than compensated for by increased footfall in Ladywell, on-street parking to enable passing motorists to stop and use the shops, a brighter and lighter landscape with more trees and benches that draws people in to the area and makes them want to stay here.
In the meantime we implore local people to continue to use Ladywell, visit the shops and spend the money you used to spend here. We understand that it is very noisy, dusty and dirty and highly inconvenient without public transport or parking (we have live with it day in, day out!), but without continued loyalty from our customers and a bit of risk-taking from potential customers in the wider area, the aims and objectives of the improvements to the streetscape to improve the economic viability of the retail area will have been in vain.
Many thanks for the loyalty you have shown us thus far.
El @ Els Kitchen, on behalf of the businesses in Ladywell

Resident said...

Now the works are almost completed I'm sure the 4 or five people per hour who use the area will welcome the enormous pavements and hazardous crossings. Drivers, however, will bemoan the increased danger to pedestrians and longer journey times from increased congestion.

JaneDoe75 said...

Are the works completed now? I am wondering if I can drive from Brockley to Lewisham hospital without having to go around Hilly Fields any more?

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