This roadside stretch on Milton Road, Penarth, was a grass verge and pedestrian pavement – but now it’s just a jumble of holes in the ground and umpteen yellow plastic road barriers.
The verge has been left in this condition since Wednesday last week – and local residents say they believed it’s the result of a dispute between the utilities company Wales and West – and contractors – but this has been denied.
For local householders, there are problems not only walking along Milton Road but also accessing the driveways of local homes.
One local resident Mr Edward Townsend said “at least a dozen phone calls” had been made to complain about the situation – but nothing had been done.
It was the eponymous poet Milton who said “When complaints are freely heard, deeply considered and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.”
The ultimate irony is that the Wales and West sign – fixed to the barrier nearest the camera – invites local residents to take a photo of the site and email it – along with a “tidiness rating ” on a scale of 1 to 10 – to the company . Each entry will entered in a “monthly draw” the winner will get a gift voucher worth £50.
One Milton Road resident said “Forget the gift-voucher – we just want what Milton describes in “Paradise Lost” – a ‘level pavement’.” [Book 1 Line 726]
Wales and West Utilities say that the pavement was about to be restored when an electrical cable fault was discovered by Western Power Distribution.
In a statement this morning Francis Kirk, Wales & West Utilities Programme Controller for Wales, said: “We are working in Milton Road, Penarth, as part of our 30 year gas pipe investment programme across Wales and the south west of England. We are replacing old metal gas pipes with new plastic ones, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable supply of gas now and in the future.
“We dug a series of holes in the verge and footpath on Milton Road to connect homes to the new gas pipe. This work was finished last week and the holes filled in – ready for grass to be reseeded and the pavement to be reinstated.
“Unfortunately, issues with an electrical cable not related to our work meant that Western Power Distribution (WPD) had to dig in the area again. We are now working closely with WPD to make sure the holes can be filled in, the grass reseeded and the pavement reinstated as soon as possible.
“Safety is a top priority for us, and while it may be unsightly, we encourage our contractors to do what they can to temporarily cover deep excavations – including using barriers.” Wales and West can be contacted on 0800 912 2999 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile local homeowners may recall Milton’s other famous line “They also serve, those who only stand and wait”.