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Water firm apologises for delays to fix leak
WATER from a burst pipe trickled down a busy Oxford street for two weeks before Thames Water attempted to fix it.
The company said a water leak on Little Clarendon Street was reported to it on January 10 but Oxfordshire County Council did not give it clearance to repair the leak until Friday night.
However the county council said the water company did not contact it until January 18.
When permission was eventually granted to fix the leak the resulting works caused multiple problems on the street as Southern Gas Network had also dug up the road on the same day to lay cabling.
The two sets of roadworks combined with the ongoing Midcounties Co-operative development caused traffic to back up into St Giles.
Thames Water spokesman Natalie Slater said: “We try to get repairs fixed as soon as we can, but we have to prioritise the biggest leaks first.
“In this case, it took us longer than we would have liked to assess what needed to be done and then get this job planned and for that we apologise.
“We were carrying out a repair on a leaking four-inch pipe. We had applied to the council to get a permit to do this work as it is in a central location so we need permission to dig up the road, and the permit we were given was for Friday night between 6pm and 10pm.
“It is important to us to fix all leaks as soon as we can, but we also have to work around the permits we are given to minimise the disruption to customers.”
The county council said Thames Water waited eight days to apply for permission to dig up the road.
Spokesman Owen Morton said: “The county council doesn’t issue permits to utility companies, but we do liaise with companies to advise on suitable timings to minimise disruption.
“In this case Thames Water notified us of their works on January 18, and carried them out on the evening of January 25, to avoid traffic disruption during peak hours.
“However, we understand the company encountered some technical problems which prolonged the work over the weekend.
“Where two or more utility works are due to take place, this might mean a choice between overlapping projects to minimise the overall period of disruption, or allowing them to run consecutively to lessen the physical impact.
“Such issues have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and we will always urge companies to minimise disruption where possible.”
Midcounties Co-operative is currently working on a new shop in the iconic street which will also see the addition of student housing.
It confirmed that the development had overrun due to the bad weather.
A spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be opening a convenience store in Jericho in May.
“The new store will create 30 jobs and provide greater convenience for our members and customers.
“As a member-owned retailer we are committed to the community in Oxford and we look forward to welcoming our customers into the new store.”