Drainage drilling issues could push up cost of new Horsdean site again

Posted On 11 Nov 2015 at 4:53 pm

Difficulties in drilling drainage under the A27 for the new Horsdean traveller site could push up the final costs even further.

Horsdean transit site. Picture by Brighton Bits
The estimated cost of extending the existing transit site to build 12 new permanent pitches had risen to £2.4m in July – up from the original budget of £1.7m which was covered by a Government grant.

Drainage concerns on the sensitive site, which environmental campaigners believe is directly above a man-made adit – or tunnel – that collects water drawn by the Patcham pumping station, meant both the permanent and temporary sites are being connected to the main sewer.

The cheapest way of doing this is directional drilling under the A27 to join with the main sewer in Vale Avenue – but it is problems with this which is now causing problems.

A council spokesperson said: “Work on the new permanent traveller site at Horsdean was hampered recently after construction workers laying a new drain encountered an obstruction under the A27.

“This has meant our contractors are hiring specialist heavy duty equipment to drill through the obstruction. It is not unusual for such problems to emerge during this sort of construction process, but it is impossible to know precisely what problems, if any, will be encountered prior to the actual work being undertaken.

“The cost implications are not yet known, but we will be seeking as far as possible to minimise any impact on the overall project budget.

“All other work is on schedule and going according to plan.”

The new site is hoped to help reduce unauthorised encampments both by providing space for those who wish to use official sites, but also because police can only use Section 62a of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to move on travellers if there are official transit pitches available in the city for more than three months.

It’s hoped by freeing up more transit pitches by providing permanent pitches, the police will be able to use this power more often.

Since the temporary site closed in the summer for the redevelopment, there has been an almost constant merry-go-round of unauthorised camps in city’s public spaces.

However, if an unauthorised camp is at a sensitive site, or there is antisocial behaviour, police are able to move it on quickly without other pitches being free.

  1. martin lawrence Reply

    This was never a suitable site , the ward councillor asked for a delay to investigate the issue further Indeed I personally have a letter from Southern Water confirming they are aware of the threat to Patcham Water Supply Works whilst also confirming safeguards are in place to ensure it can never reach the taps. At the meeting held at Old Boat Community Centre Westridge Construction were confident of the completion time being 40 weeks, how does this setback affect not only the budget but the time the city is without a transit site rendering the police bereft of the full range of powers (section 62a) Thus furthering the merry-go round situation we are now experiencing,that not only costs the tax payer thousands of pounds and impacts on local businesses, as was declared to the tlo manager and police inspector at a meeting with the group belows admins just yesterday. It also deprives the tax-paying members of the settled community unfettered access to parks and open spaces .Furthermore the drainage issue and subsequent flooding problems was mooted at the meeting above and when asked about the effects on the flooding issue in Patcham village via the Wellsebourne (underground Patcham river)the representative from the Environment Agency was blissfully unaware of its existence, so this appears to have been signed off without proper and adequate surveys being undertaken . This project is already £700k over budget , £68k was spent on unauthorised encampments on the first 10 weeks of this current administration from a budget of ,I believe £208k. Where one asks, does this extra money come from . We have the council leader Warren Morgan openly blaming cuts on central government ,when his own administration is leaking money like a sieve

  2. anne ashmore Reply

    The paragraph starting with “since the transit closed in the summer” is incorrect. When the transit site is open it is rarely used, and although it has been there for years the gypsies have never been made to use it or leave the city, and the “constant merrygoround ” has been happening for years not because the transit site has closed.

  3. Max Gargan Reply

    £2.4 million to provide 12 extra units without land costs?
    That amounts to £200,000 per unit.
    From my knowledge in construction pricing, you can build a luxury 5 bedroom detached house for lees than that on a development of 12 units. I’d like to know exactly what has been spent on what in this development?

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