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Sadlers Farm "would never happen in Southend"
12:00pm Tuesday 4th December 2012 in Local News
THE chief executive of Southend Council has issued a scathing put-down on the Sadlers Farm fiasco.
Councillors raised concerns the schemes could turn into “another Sadlers”, which will be nearly a year overdue if it finally finishes, as Essex County Council hopes, at the end of January.
But Mr Tinlin, citing the £25million Better Southend roadwork schemes which finished on time last March, said a similar disaster was unlikely to happen in his town.
He said: “We delivered the Better Southend projects on time and on budget.
“It is disappointing to be compared with Sadlers Farm, which is not quite on time or on budget, when Southend has a tremendous record on delivery.”
The £63million plan to improve Sadlers Farm started in August 2010 and was originally scheduled to be finished by the end of March this year.
The roadworks became a source of embarrassment for officials at County Hall when deadline after deadline was missed and work had to be suspended over the summer’s Olympic mountain bike event at Hadleigh Farm, because of fears about traffic congestion.
In contrast, the Better Southend schemes which reworked key junctions on the A127 at Progress Road, Cuckoo Corner and Victoria Circus, were all finished by the March 2011 deadline imposed by the Government.
Mr Tinlin said: “We achieved that with minimal disruption to traffic.
“One of the conditions of the funding was we would have four lanes open at Progress Road during the rush hour, and we had four lanes open.”
The council now hopes to secure another £15million from Whitehall to redesign the Bell, Kent Elms and Tesco roundabout on the A127.
Tony Cox, the Tory councillor responsible for transport, said the authority’s track record in sourcing funding and delivering such schemes was a source of pride.
He added: “It is easy to beat Essex County Council with a big stick, but what this episode has proved is what excellent work our own officers have done.
“Maybe if the county council had come to talk to us after the Better Southend schemes, they could have avoided the problems at Sadlers Farm.”
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