Anger as Sheffield's best street is left a mess by temporary road patches
Star readers have demanded one of Sheffield’s most historic streets is restored after contractors left it a mess of unsightly black patches.
Surrey Street is one of Sheffield’s best. It features, the Grade I listed Town Hall and six Grade II listed buildings including the Central Library, Channing Hall, The Graduate pub, numbers 67 and 69 and Leader House.
It is also home to the Montgomery Theatre, Tudor Square and the Winter Garden and is the main pedestrian route from Midland railway station into the city centre.
The Star highlighted the problem in July when Veolia was digging up the road to replace district heating mains. At the time, three other, older, patches were visible.
But since then, not only have the old patches not been fixed, but more - and larger - ones have appeared.
Readers took to Twitter to complain.
Kathy Roach Price said: ‘They should not be allowed to get away with this. It’s an absolute disgrace all over! People need to contact their local councillors and demand that they try to get this put right.’
Laura Bennett: ‘I remember seeing this work being done and thinking to myself, surely this ugly tarmac is just a temporary solution... Seemingly not.’
JustinMBuxton: ‘The £2.2 billion Streets Ahead contract with Amey is 'self monitoring'. And it is evident!’
Timewalkproject: ‘Practically the whole area is listed buildings not just the town hall and library. When the road and pavement was in good repair it was one of the best areas in Sheffield, now it is an embarrassment along with the neglect of the Central Library.’
Banklineman: ‘What does this ‘patch and make do’ fix say to any prospective investors in the city? Right outside the city headquarters. As for the streets in general, the remedial work Amey was contacted to do is breaking up all over the city, if you paper over rubbish you’ve still got rubbish.’
TashTheBlade: ‘God there's some know it alls on here. You dig a hole in the road under licence. You make a temporary repair (you may need to go back in) and then you make a permanent repair. Happens in Westminster just the same, nothing to do with politics.’
Oxspring Owl: ‘This is a SCC and Amey issue, we pay for massive improvements BUT when they agree energy or water or any utilities work they should be made to put back as was.’
SJSpode: ‘Would be good to see if any quality standards were set in the contract; quality inspections by SCC staff, not Amey, and what fines there are for unsatisfactory work. My guess is the answer to all three is NONE!!! SCC had the wool seriously pulled over their eyes with this contract.’
Nick Roscoe, of Hallamshire Historic Buildings, said: “It's understandable that temporary surfaces are used whilst multiple works are ongoing, but judging by Veola and Amey's previous statements, the road and pavements should have been restored to their original materials in November.
“It would be good to have an update on this - Surrey street is one of the city's most attractive roads and a tarmac patchwork is not a good impression for first time visitors or potential investors.”
Douglas Johnson, Green councillor for City Ward, said: “Sheffielders were promised new street resurfacing across the whole of the city within the first five years of the much-heralded Streets Ahead contract.
“Despite the boasts of the biggest ever private finance contract in local government, the experience of residents and visitors in the city centre is that it still looks a mess.
“Orchard St, next to Orchard Square, hasn’t been touched and the loose paving slabs shoot water up your leg on wet days. Pond St at the post office collection point is a literal patchwork of bumpy tarmac. And Surrey St has been completely spoiled by endless digging up.
“We were promised that these patches of tarmac would be temporary several months ago. But the City Ward councillors were still chasing up these repairs last October.
“The problem seems to be that utility contractors – which include Veolia for the district heating system – don’t have expertise in high-quality city centre paving and have trouble finding the right materials and skills to do the job. This should be factored in before they dig the pavements up.
“We have also called for a deposit scheme connected to highways permits so that when contractors don’t finish a job properly, the costs can be recovered. This would provide a good incentive to get the job done.”
Darren Butt, account director at Streets Ahead, which is part of Amey, said the street would be restored to a high standard by the end of April.
He added: “Whilst work is being undertaken by contractors on Surrey Street to repair the heating mains beneath the surface we are unable to reinstate the cobbles and return the street to its original condition.
“Although not visually appealing, the tarmac patching provides a temporary solution to ensure the road remains in a safe condition for pedestrians and motorists during this time.
“We know that Surrey Street is a very popular and historically significant thoroughfare in the city centre, which is why we remain committed to ensuring the surface is restored to its former condition once works beneath the surface are complete.
“We would like to thank people for their patience whilst these works are ongoing and give reassurance that we are liaising with all contractors to ensure their works are finished to a high standard by the end of April 2020.”