City Street Chaos

I have two entries concerning wasted public money for the weekly WordPress challenge: Chaos

Southampton City Centre's uneven pavements cause chaos.
Southampton City Centre’s uneven pavements cause chaos.

Southampton City Council spent £4.6million revamping the civic centre’s main square and pavements which was completed in 2010. But just 18 months after a private contractor completed it (with no expert investigation) large parts of the road began to sink, leaving its surface uneven and cracked.

I don’t know how many times I have fallen over in the City myself – it’s no good just looking where I am going as the shadows create optical illusions, it would be easier to walk on gravel or loose earth. So many have been hospitalised and had their lives ruined. It is cheaper for the Council if pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to claim compensation for their injuries from the contractor than have the street repaired. I think coloured Tarmac would have been a better option for the street and was even better left as it was. Cutting corners always works out more expensive and money always seems to come before people.

The back of Old Northam Road, Southampton
The back of Old Northam Road, Southampton

The street where the Developer has run off with the cash

Resotoration of Old Northam Road

Southampton City Council granted £1.4 million of public money to Grays Developments in the early 2000s to refurbish Victorian properties in Old Northam Road. This was to regenerate what was once the antiques quarter of Southampton, England.

The man who owns Grays, bought up 30 commercial properties and 68 homes within Old Northam Road had promised to invest millions restoring them within 13 years.

So far there has only been ripping down and dilapidation. No work has actually started, leaving residents and businesses in chaos. Some who lived above shops have had walls to their property removed and just left.

The traders insist that he has spent the money on a house for his mother and ran off with the rest of the cash. Here is a YouTube video of promises from the project manager: Restoration of Old Northam Road



28 thoughts on “City Street Chaos

  1. Yeah but the uneven surface outside the civic centre makes it more interesting for the millions of skateboarders who have taken up residence!
    I’ve often wondered what the deal is with Northam Road, every time i walk through there (which is a lot, given Northam Bridge is my thoroughfare into town) I wonder if anythig will happen. There are sometimes builders in one of the buildings on the raliway side of the road but no progress is ever made.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is really awful SOL.Surely the contract with the private contractor should cover repairs this soon after construction? They must be liable in some way, aren’t they? That pile of rubbish stuck between buildings in Northam Road near the city centre is terrible too. The man who owns Grays Developments should be taken to court and he should be stripped of his assets. What the hell IS going on with Southampton City Council??

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seems that the council does the repairs and the contractor does the insurance. Meanwhile it has caused some poor people to claim disability benefits.
      I don’t know what is happening with Grays, very quiet and grey – all politics.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good on you for exposing both of these malpractices, or fraud perhaps in the latter case. This happens too often these days and no one is ever held responsible – least of all the councils who handed out the contracts. I only know of one place where they fought back against the destructive elements in the council and that was in Roseleigh Avenue in Highbury N5, London, where my sister-in-law led a protest against all the lovely old houses, well-looked after and all with gardens, being demolished by the council which had, in its wisdom, decided to knock down the whole street. She got a lot of publicity by persistently writing to and telephoning newspapers, television news teams, local dignitaries and anyone with influence, eventually got local radio stations interested and TV coverage, and after about 3 years of sheer bloody hard work (pre-home computer time), got the council to withdraw their plans and saved a lovely street for posterity. It’s still there, housing families and flat-sharers, a tree-lined avenue of graceful old buildings.
    We shall all have to fight back like this and the world of social media should make it easier. But have people lost the will?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well done Roseleigh Avenue I say… These are just two examples – It’s the bureaucracy that safeguards the decisions – these two were well-meaning ideas but the processes to carry them out are flawed. So many have complained but the buck is always passed. The local papers are full of people raging against the machine.


  4. Right now, the city of Houston is dealing with potholes in its streets: not just a few potholes here and there, but big, omnipresent, auto suspension destroying sorts. Whilel they await repair, the City Council busies itself with — well, with other matters, most of which reflect a desire to reshape the culture rather than to repair the streets. It seems to be an increasing problem around the world, this lack of responsibility and accountability.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t get us started on the potholes in Southampton’s streets. I don’t think there’s a road in the city that doesn’t have a pothole in it and, now that we’re having sub-zero nights, they’re just going to get worse.

      Liked by 3 people

    • You are right there. Pot holes are a big problem here too. It is no good trying to be right-on and get all the ‘isms sorted if the fundamental basics aren’t being carried out. I think the main problem is everyone can communicate with new technology now but the institutions still have old fashioned methods and more bureaucracy in dealing with them and with less money than they used to.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: City Street Chaos — SNIPS & SNAPS | Hart Residents Community Website

  6. Shameful. The southern UK is one of the most blessed places on the planet, it has mild weather, beautiful scenery, nearby and spectacular ocean, and the forbearing British people. What more could any country ask for but to have all of those attributes?

    To let such a beautiful region to have even *one* unsightly view, is a travesty.

    There is no excuse good enough that all of Southampton couldn’t be made into a picture-postcard city, when viewed from any angle.

    If the present city council is busy with far less important matters than making Southampton all that it can and should be… then maybe it’s time for some new blood there.

    It isn’t about the cost of fixing the present shambles, it’s about the cost of missed opportunity — billions of pounds sterling in tourist spending could be pouring into Southampton (and area) every year. It’s about a complete lack of vision.

    When we look at Dubai, we see that 30 years ago it was nothing but a dusty old fishing village with one paved road — and now it is the jewel of the region. What made the difference? A vision for the city!

    Thank you for your great posts. — JBS

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How wonderful to span the ocean as we’ve done in these comments! The trouble is, as I see it, we who make all the noise and fuss about things not working, should be the ones on the various councils but we’re not We are too busy running our lives and sorting out our own problems. When I was younger I fancied going into politics but I couldn’t face the climb up through local councils. Anyway, I’d have made a rotten MP, too rash in my pronouncements and too hasty to judge other people. All I can do now is write letters and tweet when I’m moved to a passion (got my share of trolls to prove it).

    Liked by 2 people

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