Leighton Buzzard residents demand answers from Anglian Water over ongoing roadworks 'chaos' on Heath Road

The disruption is due to a damaged section of sewer pipe which is currently being repaired.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 11:20 am

Leighton Buzzard residents are demanding answers about the prolonged closure of Heath Road, claiming the month-long work has caused chaos in the area.

The roadworks have led to the street being blocked off near The Star pub, with diversions for traffic coming into Leighton from the A5 via Heath and Reach, and for vehicles travelling from the town centre.

The LBO contacted Anglian Water and can reveal that the disruption is due to a damaged section of sewer pipe - understood to be only six inches long - which is currently being repaired.

The roadworks on Heath Road. Photo: Stuart Oliver.

Several readers have contacted us to ask what on earth is going on, claiming that they have had no explanation. Tankers have been stationed in the area to maintain full water supplies for residents.

One man alleged: "Please could you explain why Heath Road has been completely closed for so long and when it is due to reopen? I understand that Anglian Water are doing some work but there is rarely anyone on site actually working. Is this some kind of part-time ‘turn up when you feel like it’ exercise or is there ever going to be a serious effort to get whatever work is going on completed?

"The closure is causing dangerous chaos throughout the area with massive lorries and articulated vehicles, as well as buses and coaches tearing along totally unsuitable narrow roads, such as Hillside Road and the Old Linslade Road, without any consideration for normal road users.

"I have, on several occasions, been virtually driven off of the road by heavy vehicles crossing onto my side of the road and not even attempting to slow down. I have seen no attempt by CBC or the police to control the traffic."

The roadworks on Heath Road. Photo: Stuart Oliver.

Resident Stuart Oliver, a retired journalist with first-hand experience of the mineral extraction industry, added: "Excavating such a small hole more than 20 feet deep through sand is quite a tricky business even when you don't have obstacles like water and gas pipes and power cables to manoeuvre through. Safety has to be the top priority from start to finish."

The LBO also understands several businesses are annoyed at losing out on passing trade.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “Our teams are currently working to repair a damaged section of sewer pipe on Heath Road, Leighton Buzzard, following subsidence to the road surface, which has led to soil and debris blocking the sewer.

"We’re using tankers so customers in the local area can continue to flush their toilets and use their washing machines as normal. Our engineers are working seven days a week and will have completed the repair by the end of the month."

The sewer collapse comes only a couple of months after the same stretch of road was closed for pavement widening and re-surfacing that required the use of heavy machinery.

The LBO asked for further information about the cause of the damage, to which the Anglian Water spokesperson added: "There’s no immediate cause at the moment they [the team on site] could confidently attribute it to but they will complete some further investigations over the coming weeks to see if they can find anything."

Central Bedfordshire Council confirmed that it has no involvement in the situation apart from organising the road closure.

The Anglian Water spokesperson said: “A road closure is currently in place for the safety of road users, residents and our staff working on what is a busy road in the area. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank customers for their patience while we complete these repairs.”