Shelton residents voice anger after months of disruptive roadworks

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Residents in the Shelton area of Stoke-on-Trent have hit out after months of roadworks on their street.

Ashford Street has been part of the city-wide redevelopment for the District Heating Network (DHN) system which involves pipe teams digging up the road and laying miles of infrastructure, eventually seeing 18km of pipes laid across Stoke-on-Trent.

The new DHN will cost around £52 million to install and works by pumping geothermal heat energy around the city for businesses and homes.

The roadworks, commencing phase one of the project, started in October 2017 on Leek Road and was initially supposed to take 11 weeks, moving through Shelton in the University Quarter, laying 4km of pipes later in the year.

However, since the roadworks started over a year ago, they have been hit with delays, ranging from adverse weather conditions to unexpected assets found in the ground.

Now residents have hit out, saying communication between the council and people living in the area has been lacking, and, with no end in sight, people are  growing increasingly frustrated.

Holly Latham, a third year Staffordshire University History student, said: “The roadworks are a nightmare.

“Workers are so noisy and it’s not just like they are getting on with their work, but they are just rude they are shouting, swearing, playing loud music.

“This is a neighbourhood, whether we are students or families it’s just inappropriate still.

“I think they are going for ages and it looks like they are never going to finish.”

Roadworks on Ashford Street

                          Roadworks on Ashford Street

Coby Morton, a Masters Games Design student, added: “My personal issue with the roadworks is obviously the parking.

“When you are trying to park, if you are cutting half this street off you have then got these cars trying to park on other streets but then they are obviously interfering with other parking restrictions so then it’s like a tumbleweed – the streets just get more and more full.”

One resident, who wished to remain nameless, said: “We hardly know what is going on.

“One minute the workers are around, the next they are away for two weeks leaving the site unattended.

“It just invites the children in the area to mess about with the railings.

“It’s all really inconvenient, especially as I don’t really know what is going on.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Councillor Ann James said the scheme will benefit the city, but apologised for the disruption.

She said: “Our main priority is to get business to use it before we start looking at putting it into residential properties.

“We are waiting to connect all the piping and then do tests, so we can find out how to distribute it.

“Residents will not know much about it until we have got it up and working so we can show them how it will work.

“We apologise for the inconvenience. I don’t think I would like it going past my house, but it is going to be beneficial for the city.

“We have to move forward, we can’t stay in the dark ages.

“It’s an opportunity to bring something renewable into the city so, please, an appeal. Just bide with us.”

Andrew Briggs, strategic manager for energy at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, tried to appease residents problems when he spoke to StaffsLive at an “Urban Heating to Stoke-on-Trent” event.

“Clearly, it’s a challenge. This is part of delivering a major infrastructure project.

Andrew Briggs speaking at the Urban Heat event.

        Andrew Briggs speaking at the Urban                                       Heating event.

“While I can hopefully say this will be it for 50 years, it’s that first moment of digging the road up to put the pipes in the ground.

“In the longer term we should hope to provide cheap sustainable, really truly green energy for people and residents can be part of something that is unique which will grow and develop to be a key part of infrastructure in the city.”

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