Blazing row over Welwyn one-way fiasco

THEY promised the two-way system in Welwyn would be re-opened before Christmas.

But, more than two weeks later, the blockade is still in place in Codicote Road.

It has led to a row between the owner of The Wellington pub and Hertfordshire Highways with each blaming the other for the delay.

In the meantime residents and traders are suffering the consequences of the unpopular system – set up in High Street and Church Road in September following the huge fire at The Wellington, in June.

It was announced more than three weeks ago that the scaffolding surrounding the pub, put in place to support the structural integrity, was to be resized on December 18 allowing the temporary system to revert to two-way and Codicote Road to be re-opened.

Pub owner Chris Gerard told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “ The remodelling of the scaffolding was completed ahead of schedule on December 16 and we instructed the Herts Highways appointed contractor [Kirsop] in advance to complete the road re-opening work.

“We understand snow made this work impossible [on December 18], but are extremely disappointed work has still not commenced and normal traffic flow has not been restored.”

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Mr Gerard added: “As the choice of road contractor is determined by Herts Highways we are not able to use alternative contractors.

“We have made strong representations to the highways officer to intervene and speed up the process, but to date have had no response from them.”

However, a Herts Highways spokeswoman said the removal of the one-way system was not Herts Highways’ responsibility.

She added: “We contacted Kirsop by email on December 23 to prompt them once again about the need to remove the temporary traffic management and asking for confirmation of when the road would be returned to normal.

“The pub owners were copied into this email and they know we have been going out of our way to push the contractors to return the road to normal as soon as possible.

“We are still waiting to hear from Kirsop about when they plan to remove the traffic management.”

County councillor Richard Smith, who had vowed to get the road open by Christmas, said: “The contractor was not able to do the job on the appointed day because of the weather conditions and because of this was not able to get together the necessary manpower to carry out the work.

“It was physically impossible, but they were defeated by the weather.

“We are all disappointed that the snow has caused havoc.”

Cllr Smith said he hoped the one-way system would be removed early this month. “My understanding is that the date to reinstate the previous two-way system is now Monday, January 4, or soon after.

“Let’s look on the bright side and look forward to it being back to normal.”