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The roadworks at White Shops in Catterick Garrison that were meant to be completed within 12 weeks are now set to continue until November – almost a year after it was due to finish.
The announcement from North Yorkshire is likely to infuriate local businesses who say they have already made redundancies due to a reduction in business because of the work and are now at risk of going out of business.
The announcement has also angered Catterick county councillor Helen Grant who said she was “at her wits end”.
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Cllr Grant said: “Shop keepers are concerned that they will go out of business and that was an absolute travesty.
“The whole job has been a disaster from day one. A postmortem will most certainly be required.”
North Yorkshire County Council said it had has persistently requested Vodafone to commit to a date to relocate cabling from the works site so that the council and its contractors could finish the junction improvements.
The final junction upgrade at White Shops – the junction of Catterick Road, Byng Road and Horne Road – began last autumn but has been beset by delays.
It was due to be finished in early July but delays in alterations to major cabling belonging to Vodafone have now meant that this date is achievable, the council says.
It added that it had sought a date for the cabling relocation so the junction could be finished, however Vodafone failed to give a definite date for moving the cabling until 9 May.
The company has now said the cabling will be relocated in the middle of July.
But because other major works cannot take place until Vodafone has completed the task, the junction completion has had to be put back to November. Discussions are continuing with the company to try to improve upon this date, officials said.
“We are extremely sorry for this delay because we are well aware of the disruptive impact of these works,’’ said David Bowe, North Yorkshire’s Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services.
“Our intention was always to complete the works as quickly as possible and we have chased Vodafone over past months, both via email and telephone and have escalated this communication to senior officers
“We have brought forward other works within this scheme to minimise the overall delay, but until Vodafone gets on with the task of relocating the cabling we cannot carry out any more significant tasks.
“Extensive repairs to the drainage system also need to be undertaken and we only discovered the true extent of the deterioration in the drainage system once we had started the White Shops roadworks and this will add a further four weeks to the programme. However, we cannot get on with this work until Vodafone has completed its tasks. If Vodafone cannot start its work until mid-July, we cannot finish the scheme until November, which is very regrettable.
“For this reason we are now pressing the company to provide an earlier date and we are really now in the hands of Vodafone for when this final phase of the works can be finished.”
Richmondshire District Council Corporate Director Callum McKeon said: “We are very disappointed with the latest delays to this project, which will cause disruption to many of our residents and businesses for another four months when they should be seeing the benefits of the improvement scheme.”
Cllr Grant said she had asked for an immediate compensation package from the county council or the contract holder.
Cllr Grant said she had written to Rishi Sunak MP and the leaders of both North Yorkshire and Richmondshire councils after being told that the works at Hildyard Row will not be completed until November.
She had also raised the matter at a meeting of the county council’s full council.
She has urged members of the public to make their concerns known to the county council executive member for highways Don McKenzie.
The joint scheme by North Yorkshire County Council and Richmondshire District Council, which attracted funding from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership via the Local Growth Fund, will improve junctions along the A6136 corridor to enable housing development and economic growth.
When complete, the improvements across three junctions will help to create 1,900 new homes and hundreds of jobs based on a modern Catterick Garrison town centre, as well as improving key transport links and fast access to the upgraded A1 motorway and the region’s major cities.