LETTER: Anticipate problems over 10-months gas works

TO all residents of Nelson and Brierfield who might be affected by work carried out by the North West Gas Alliance over the next few months.

Whatever Mr Stephen Murray, contract manager, National Grid said, from our experience it will be more than 10 months of road delays. It will be more than 10 months of disconnected gas, damaged pipes, gas leaks and inaccessible driveways.

These are some experiences from only eight houses at the end of Lancaster Gate, Nelson, during the very cold weather recently.

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Work could not be delayed as there were deadlines to meet – this was the excuse for cutting off gas supplies in some of the coldest weather of the winter, even though the work should have been carried out last June. Neither Balfour Beatty nor the National Grid seems concerned about the effect of extremely low temperatures on young babies or people in their 80s.

Balfour Beatty had no idea where the gas pipes were – not even the mains. A pipe to one house was damaged and so the gas was cut off. However, the rest of the pipe could not be traced and the family were without heating and hot water for 56 hours.

Half the residents were not even notified of the work to be carried out. Apparently, one side of Lancaster Gate did not need their gas pipes replacing – even though they were connected to the same main pipe as the other side of the road.

Gas was cut off from 10-30am on Thursday, March 28th, and a verbal assurance given that an engineer would be reconnecting from 4pm. Wrong! The Balfour Beatty engineer who did come to connect four houses at 5pm refused to connect the rest because they weren’t on his list. The National Grid sent emergency engineers and reconnected us about 7-30pm.

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Midnight, March 29th: Emergency gas services had to be called out to gas leaking from one of the exposed pipes which had obviously not been checked properly before the workmen left at 5pm. The repair was completed about 2am by the National Grid.

March 30th: Another day without gas with the lost pipe mentioned above being abandoned and more deep trenches dug for a new pipe.

March 31st: We’d been assured we would be able to use our drives by Sunday. Wrong. On Monday, the holes are still here and we’re the fools for believing anything Balfour Beatty say.

Residents of Nelson and Brierfield – please make sure the workmen know exactly where they are going to dig and where the connection points are before they begin the actual work near your property. The guys doing the digging worked hard but had no direction or leadership – it’s a pity their bosses didn’t have to work in such conditions over the coldest Easter break on record.

Finally, Residents of Pendle, we hope the weather gets warmer for you over the next 10 months – or maybe 21 months?

RESIDENTS of 63, 65, 67, 69, 74, 76, 78 and 80 LANCASTER GATE