Elderly Harold Wood residents prevented from selling homes due to bridge work delays

PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:39 26 July 2017

Residents with placards showing their displeasure at the delay in works to the Ardleigh Green Bridge. Picture: Cllr Darren Wise.

Residents with placards showing their displeasure at the delay in works to the Ardleigh Green Bridge. Picture: Cllr Darren Wise.

Cllr Darren Wise

Elderly homeowners are being prevented from selling up and downsizing because of delays to bridge replacement works.

When the Recorder broke the news in June that works to Ardleigh Green Bridge could be delayed for up to two years, two resident associations demanded a detailed response from Transport for London (TfL).

The response, seen by the Recorder, has been called “fluff” by Alan Smith, 69, of Hamilton Drive, Harold Wood, who rents two properties on the Southend Arterial Road.

“My neighbours are in their 70s,” he said.

“They have four or five bedroom houses, they want to downsize and move near the seaside but they can’t sell [their houses].

“Instead of being 70, they then turn 75, then 80. It has hit them at the wrong time. If you are younger, you think you can suffer it for a couple of years but unfortunately they cannot.

“[TfL’s response] is fluff and its annoying.”

Representatives from Upminster and Cranham Residents, and Harold Wood, Hill, Park residents’ associations said TfL’s original explanation that the delay was caused by “complex demolition work that took longer than expected” was completely inadequate.

The associations demanded to know what measures were being taken to expedite completion of the works, how air quality eroded by congestion will be improved, and what steps will be taken to prevent residential roads from becoming rat runs.

“The impact on motorists, residents and businesses has been one of grinding congestion, delay and relentless inconvenience,” said Cllr Darren Wise (Harold Wood, Hill, and Park Residents’ Association).

TfL’s director of projects in surface transport, Nick Fairholme apologised, and said: “On this occasion the planning proved insufficient and I am very sorry for the disruption this has caused to people living and travelling through the area.”

But he added residents would not be given compensation, and the improvements would create long-term economic benefits to businesses and residents.

Cllr Clarence Barrett (Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association) said: “I would dispute that local businesses or residents will agree that the long-term economic benefits of the scheme will, as the response states, ‘far outweigh any disruption caused by these works’.”

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