Pay­ing price for de­lay in bridge work

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? - by Paul Fran­cis pfran­cis@thek­m­

po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor A TEN-WEEK de­lay that is hold­ing up work on Ash­ford’s New­town bridge could add an­other £180,000 to the costs of the scheme.

Kent County Coun­cil said the ex­tra money needed for the work, which is be­ing man­aged by Net­work Rail, could have to come from fund­ing set aside for other cap­i­tal projects in the town.

The is­sue of the de­lay was raised at a full county coun­cil meet­ing by Lib­eral Demo­crat county coun­cil­lor Ge­orge Koowa­ree, who rep­re­sents the area. He took up com­plaints about the de­lay with Cllr Keith Fer­rin, KCC’s roads chief.

In an­swer to a ques­tion about the tim­ing, Cllr Fer­rin con­firmed the de­lay had been caused by the di­ver­sion works un­der­ground which had taken longer than ex­pected.

The hold-up has frus­trated many lo­cal busi­nesses, who say trade has slumped.

Cllr Koowa­ree said KCC should con­sider com­pen­sa­tion but was told that was not the county coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“The con­tract is be­ing man­aged by Net­work Rail. The de­lay has caused some in­con­ve­nience and it is an un­for­tu­nate set of cir­cum­stances,” said Cllr Fer­rin.

Work should have been fin­ished by early Oc­to­ber but is drag­ging on un­til De­cem­ber 20 be­cause of un­der­ground ca­ble work.

Net­work Rail says its own work to re­fur­bish the bridge was com­pleted on time.

Cllr Ge­orge Koowa­ree, who raised the is­sue of the de­lay

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