Power operator to be held to task over delays to major road schemes in Ely

Councillor Anna Bailey said that the Ely southern bypass has been delayed by UKPN. Photo: Cambridges

Councillor Anna Bailey said that the Ely southern bypass has been delayed by UKPN. Photo: Cambridgeshire County Council - Credit: Archant

Council bosses are urging Cambridgeshire’s biggest electricity operator to improve their services following delays to three major projects in Ely.

The chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council will now write to UK Power Networks (UKPN) calling on them to investigate their services.

It comes as it’s claimed the Ely bypass project, the resurfacing of Cambridge Road and the installation of a pedestrian crossing in Haddenham were all delayed due to UKPN.

Councillor Anna Bailey put forward a motion at a full meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday, saying that the performance of UKPN was “critical to the council’s ability to deliver projects in a timely and efficient manner”.

Cllr Bailey said: “The Ely bypass project had a three month delay to the schedule, the Cambridge Road had to be dug up again and the crossing in Haddenham took weeks to have the power supply connected. It is truly disgusting.

“There has been lots of frustration with staff, engineers and the public due to the delays and this motion was trying to get them to address their level of service and look into what went wrong.

“We rely on them to provide a good level of service. We now want them to consider the effects of their performance on the delays of our essential projects.

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“The chief executive will now write to them calling for them to investigate from these three examples from their point of view.

“People had been waiting a long time for these works to be completed, but due to endless delays we found ourselves with no choice but to wait for UKPN.

“The amount of frustration it caused for everyone was awful.”

The motion claimed that UKPN had made ‘false promises’ for work, causing ‘unnecessary and substantial cost’.

It stated: “The performance of UKPN can either enhance or damage the Council’s reputation.

“This council has concerns about the performance of UKPN, illustrated by the examples, which are by no means an exhaustive list.”

The motion was supported by 42 members of the council, with 14 abstentions.

A spokesperson for UKPN said: “We have worked closely with the county council on the Ely bypass and share their desire to open it as quickly as possible. We completed our project on time once the design was completed by the council’s contractors. Delivery of the work was accelerated and this, coupled with a change in the nature of the work, resulted in an increase in the resource and cost.

“The connection of the light-controlled pedestrian crossing in Hop Row, Haddenham, was completed as quickly as possible in February. However, the work was postponed twice previously at the customer’s request.

“We are investigating the background to the resurfacing project in Cambridge Road, Ely.”

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