Berwick Street eight month roadwork chaos warning
Construction firm warns resurfacing works could flood residents' vaults
26 May, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya
RESIDENTS and businesses in Berwick Street are bracing themselves for eight months of “noisy” roadworks.
The scheme, which includes resurfacing the road, renewing footways and installing new street lighting between Oxford Street and Broadwick Street will begin on June 5.
FM Conway, the company contracted by Westminster Council, has written to residents to warn them to expect “noisy” works that will close parts of the street to traffic and could damage their basements.
Berwick Street Market trader Robin Smith, called the project a “badly timed joke”.
The Soho Dairy boss said: “For the market it just means chaos on three sides instead of two. I understand that the work needs to be done some time and I’m sure that some will think it’s better to get it out of the way, but for me it’s a badly-timed joke, we still have construction traffic servicing Kemp House and Walker’s Court, plus a new development starting on Broadwick Street.”
He warned that rerouting traffic would make parking and stopping for deliveries “even tougher than it already is”. He added: “Then there will be the obvious noise, dirt and traffic pollution – nothing we are not used to – though it does feel someone has it in for all of us down here. The roadworks will go from here to beyond Christmas, strangely Old Compton Street took just a week and Regent Street 10 days.”
Fears have been raised about how emergency vehicles will get through and what effect the closures will have on businesses.
Dufours Place resident Alida Baxter said: “I think it is unbelievable. How are any emergency vehicles going to reach anybody? I don’t know what any of us are going to do. This is going to be terrible.”
In a letter that went out to residents last week, FM Conway warned that properties with basements or vaults beneath the road could be water-damaged if they are not properly protected against damp.
“Neither the council nor the contractor will be responsible for any such damage resulting from these works. It will be the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the vault is suitably protected against such damage,” it said. It added: “While we will take steps to minimise the impacts on residents and businesses, some of the works will be noisy and access to properties may be restricted at times.”
The works will coincide with a separate project to install ducting to bring high-speed fibre to prop- erties in the area.
“We always work with busi- nesses in local areas to minimise any impact from roadworks, that includes maintaining pedestrian access to businesses and access for emergency vehicles, ” the let- ter said.
Cllr Danny Chalkley, Westminster’s cabinet member for city highways, said: “We always work with businesses in local areas to minimise any impact from roadworks, that includes maintaining pedestrian access to businesses and access for emergency vehicles.”
FM Conway were unavailable for comment.
The stretch of Berwick Street between Oxford Street and Noel Street will be the first to close.