Bromley Council trying to resolve Orpington High Street 'shambles'

Bromley Council trying to resolve Orpington High Street 'shambles'

Parts of Orpington High Street have had to be patched up

Bromley Council says the patches in the road are not a permanent solution

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

BROMLEY Council is being urged to make sure it learns from the Orpington ‘shambles’ as it bids for money from Transport for London to improve Beckenham High Street.

This message comes from readers who say the £2.2m which was spent on Orpington High Street improvement works was a ‘painful and expensive mistake’.

It was reopened with great fanfare by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson in July 2010 but this summer part of the block paving had to be taken up and relaid.

And tarmac has been used to patch up some gaps in the brickwork.

This Is Local London: Tarmac has been used to patch up some gaps in the brickwork

Concerned pensioner Barry Redbourn, 72, said: “There are 18 tarmac patches in the crossing by Smiths.

“When I go over the surface on my bike it is dreadful.

“I just think that all this money has been spent unwisely.”

Mr Redbourn, of Oakfield Road, Orpington, added: “Bricks cannot withstand the heavy traffic.

“They should take up the bricks and tarmac it and they should keep Beckenham High Street as tarmac because bricks cannot withstand the heavy traffic.”

And commenting on the News Shopper website Invicta58 said: “I would strongly advise David Wood and Peter Morgan to have a look at Orpington to see the realities and workmanship of these expensive vanity projects.

“Ask if it will last 2 years.

“Ask if it falls apart in less than 2 years it just gets bodged up.

“Ask if will be the same quality, or better, than Orpington.

“Learn from the painful and expensive mistakes made there.”

And Slonik commented: “Yep - shocking isn't the word for the 'work' which was done in Orpington.

“Before wasting any more taxpayers' money in Beckenham, Bromley Council (and TfL) will hopefully ensure that the contractors used are actually up to the job.”

A Bromley Council spokesman said: "We are working hard with the contractors to ensure the issues in the Orpington scheme are fixed at no cost to the council and to our full satisfaction.

"Trials for long term solutions to the problems are currently being completed and will be implemented as soon as we have satisfactory feedback.

"We are anticipating the completion of the works early in the New Year with as little disruption as possible to businesses, shoppers and residents.

"We routinely review every project worked on and with complex schemes such as the Orpington Public Realm Scheme we aim to ensure that problems that inevitably arise from time to time are acted on quickly and efficiently.”

How do you think the Orpington High Street works should be fixed? Have your say below.

Comments (15)

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8:58am Tue 9 Oct 12

Donkey Choker says...

Why aren't the contractors being dragged back to fix their shoddy workmanship?

That's a lot of money for a total bodge up. What were they trying to achieve anyway?
Why aren't the contractors being dragged back to fix their shoddy workmanship? That's a lot of money for a total bodge up. What were they trying to achieve anyway? Donkey Choker
  • Score: 0

9:35am Tue 9 Oct 12

lord righteous says...

A Bromley Council spokesman said: "We are working hard with the contractors to ensure the issues in the Orpington scheme are fixed at no cost to the council and to our full satisfaction.

They should be working hard to force the bodgers at Conways to come back and fix their cr@ppy work for free.Surely their must be a clause in the contract for this very thing,or did the council not bother?
Amazing that this cowboy outfit,CONways,has just about every contract with every London borough.Drive (if you can!) around the City and nearly every set of roadworks etc is down to CONways.
How do they get these contracts when their work is continuously su standard?
Pay peanuts and you get monkeys,or CONways in this case.
A Bromley Council spokesman said: "We are working hard with the contractors to ensure the issues in the Orpington scheme are fixed at no cost to the council and to our full satisfaction. They should be working hard to force the bodgers at Conways to come back and fix their cr@ppy work for free.Surely their must be a clause in the contract for this very thing,or did the council not bother? Amazing that this cowboy outfit,CONways,has just about every contract with every London borough.Drive (if you can!) around the City and nearly every set of roadworks etc is down to CONways. How do they get these contracts when their work is continuously su standard? Pay peanuts and you get monkeys,or CONways in this case. lord righteous
  • Score: 0

10:03am Tue 9 Oct 12

Invicta58 says...

Bromley Council and Conway’s have proved beyond all doubt that between them they are not competent of designing and implementing complex road schemes. They now tell us that two years after implementation they are starting trials to determine what the solution should be. Trials are supposed to be before not after you waste £2.2M !

Please don’t tell us the trials are being carried out by Conway’s, overseen by Bromley as both are just not competent to make any judgement. They got the original design wrong so what confidence should we have in their replacement design? Anyone want to give odds that cheap, flat, tarmac won’t be part of the trial? There is an anti-car agenda to be followed which probably prevents it.

This pantomime will run for years at great expense. Ironic when you consider that next month the leader of the Council is asking us for ways to save £30M. What gets closed to pay for the expensive upkeep of Orpington High Street?
Bromley Council and Conway’s have proved beyond all doubt that between them they are not competent of designing and implementing complex road schemes. They now tell us that two years after implementation they are starting trials to determine what the solution should be. Trials are supposed to be before not after you waste £2.2M ! Please don’t tell us the trials are being carried out by Conway’s, overseen by Bromley as both are just not competent to make any judgement. They got the original design wrong so what confidence should we have in their replacement design? Anyone want to give odds that cheap, flat, tarmac won’t be part of the trial? There is an anti-car agenda to be followed which probably prevents it. This pantomime will run for years at great expense. Ironic when you consider that next month the leader of the Council is asking us for ways to save £30M. What gets closed to pay for the expensive upkeep of Orpington High Street? Invicta58
  • Score: 0

10:17am Tue 9 Oct 12

mareen says...

Orpington is a shambles however I don't think that the blame can be entirely put at the feet of Conways. I would have imagined that they were working to the plans presented to them, perhaps the department at Bromley Concil that had this vision of how the High Street should be are the ones to blame. I know very little about building works, however, it isn't hard to notice that block work paving doesn't even stand the test of time for heavey duty pedestrian use so how on earth LBB could invisage heavy traffic use would be a different matter. Another thing that is quite a worry is the platform table toward the top of the high street that pedestrians assume to be an unmarked crossing, so very dangerous. As for Boris Johnson, I'm still wondering where on earth he parked his space ship when opening the High Street, he certainly doesn't seem to be singing off the same hymn sheet as the majority of us when it comes to his comparison of Orpington High Street to Blue Water
Orpington is a shambles however I don't think that the blame can be entirely put at the feet of Conways. I would have imagined that they were working to the plans presented to them, perhaps the department at Bromley Concil that had this vision of how the High Street should be are the ones to blame. I know very little about building works, however, it isn't hard to notice that block work paving doesn't even stand the test of time for heavey duty pedestrian use so how on earth LBB could invisage heavy traffic use would be a different matter. Another thing that is quite a worry is the platform table toward the top of the high street that pedestrians assume to be an unmarked crossing, so very dangerous. As for Boris Johnson, I'm still wondering where on earth he parked his space ship when opening the High Street, he certainly doesn't seem to be singing off the same hymn sheet as the majority of us when it comes to his comparison of Orpington High Street to Blue Water mareen
  • Score: 0

11:34am Tue 9 Oct 12

Invicta58 says...

Mareen, some bright spark decided to make the High Street a 20mph zone. Rospa guidance suggests these schemes might be appropriate if the previous average speed is already below 24mph – which it probably wasn’t - so the whole concept is fundamentally flawed to begin with. You are correct that Bromley are to blame for this.

Having gone down this wrong route the regulations say that 20mph zones have to include a number of obstacles to keep the speed under 20mph. Raised platforms are just one of the obstacles chosen by Bromley but the regulations say they can’t be more than a certain number of metres apart.

The unmarked raised platform you mention serves no useful purpose other than to fill a long gap and thus make the other raised platforms compliant with the regulations regarding distance between them. In most other respects, markings, vertical faces etc, the humps fail to meet the regulations anyway. Hence we have a confusing jumble of adjacent Puffin and Zebra crossings (with substandard markings), and unmarked raised sections. How nobody has been killed yet is down to luck not design. As you say, very dangerous.

We should be grateful that just one of the Johnson brothers is more than enough for Orpington and you can be sure that Boris won’t be back to officially close the High Street for the complete rebuild.

Wouldn’t that be fun – Boris opens it and his little brother Jo, strangely with nothing to say about "his” High Street, could perhaps close it for repairs?
Mareen, some bright spark decided to make the High Street a 20mph zone. Rospa guidance suggests these schemes might be appropriate if the previous average speed is already below 24mph – which it probably wasn’t - so the whole concept is fundamentally flawed to begin with. You are correct that Bromley are to blame for this. Having gone down this wrong route the regulations say that 20mph zones have to include a number of obstacles to keep the speed under 20mph. Raised platforms are just one of the obstacles chosen by Bromley but the regulations say they can’t be more than a certain number of metres apart. The unmarked raised platform you mention serves no useful purpose other than to fill a long gap and thus make the other raised platforms compliant with the regulations regarding distance between them. In most other respects, markings, vertical faces etc, the humps fail to meet the regulations anyway. Hence we have a confusing jumble of adjacent Puffin and Zebra crossings (with substandard markings), and unmarked raised sections. How nobody has been killed yet is down to luck not design. As you say, very dangerous. We should be grateful that just one of the Johnson brothers is more than enough for Orpington and you can be sure that Boris won’t be back to officially close the High Street for the complete rebuild. Wouldn’t that be fun – Boris opens it and his little brother Jo, strangely with nothing to say about "his” High Street, could perhaps close it for repairs? Invicta58
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Tue 9 Oct 12

goldenbroomboy says...

I get the impression that Bromley Council consider Orpington to be a large dormitory village, rather than the busy outer suburban town that it actually is. As for little bro Jonners, he is ambitious, Orpington is just the means to an end.
I get the impression that Bromley Council consider Orpington to be a large dormitory village, rather than the busy outer suburban town that it actually is. As for little bro Jonners, he is ambitious, Orpington is just the means to an end. goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Tue 9 Oct 12

mareen says...

goldenbroomboy, I agree with you whole heartedly that Orpington is a busy surburban town. What a pity that some foresight wasn't given to the development of what is the core of most towns, the High Street. Would it not have been a better idea to have placed the college on the Nugent site, railway station and an abundance of bus routes on hand and build stores in the High Street whice is what most people would expect to find. We have an almost redunant state of the art purpose built police station together with the closed job centre. I often think to myself how the Nugent shops would have been so beneficial to residents of Orpington had they of been on the High Street, not to mention that the fistfull of almost empty coffee shops would be purposeful, a treat that I enjoy to reflect over my shopping expedition.Variety is needed to make our town great again with stores that suit everyone's taste and budgets. I wonder if Joe Johnson has ever noticed his constituents stuck in a total gridlock traffic jam trying to enter or leave the High Street, why, Tesco, didn't anyone at the Bromley take that one in to account. By the way, I hope that they are going to change the potential 'party in the restaurant' bill board outside of the Village Hall site by the War Memorial as the fashion is becoming very non vogue not to mention out of season.
goldenbroomboy, I agree with you whole heartedly that Orpington is a busy surburban town. What a pity that some foresight wasn't given to the development of what is the core of most towns, the High Street. Would it not have been a better idea to have placed the college on the Nugent site, railway station and an abundance of bus routes on hand and build stores in the High Street whice is what most people would expect to find. We have an almost redunant state of the art purpose built police station together with the closed job centre. I often think to myself how the Nugent shops would have been so beneficial to residents of Orpington had they of been on the High Street, not to mention that the fistfull of almost empty coffee shops would be purposeful, a treat that I enjoy to reflect over my shopping expedition.Variety is needed to make our town great again with stores that suit everyone's taste and budgets. I wonder if Joe Johnson has ever noticed his constituents stuck in a total gridlock traffic jam trying to enter or leave the High Street, why, Tesco, didn't anyone at the Bromley take that one in to account. By the way, I hope that they are going to change the potential 'party in the restaurant' bill board outside of the Village Hall site by the War Memorial as the fashion is becoming very non vogue not to mention out of season. mareen
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Tue 9 Oct 12

Invicta58 says...

According to James Cleverly - London Assembly member for Bromley - Jo Johnson the MP for Orpington lives in Camden.

I guess Jo just about knows where Orpington is but doubt that he has a clue what is going on in the High Street of his constituency. Why would he be bothered about the gridlock championed by his brother if he doesn't live here?
According to James Cleverly - London Assembly member for Bromley - Jo Johnson the MP for Orpington lives in Camden. I guess Jo just about knows where Orpington is but doubt that he has a clue what is going on in the High Street of his constituency. Why would he be bothered about the gridlock championed by his brother if he doesn't live here? Invicta58
  • Score: 0

5:50pm Tue 9 Oct 12

mareen says...

invicat58
I feel that you have hit the nail right on the head there.
invicat58 I feel that you have hit the nail right on the head there. mareen
  • Score: 0

11:07am Wed 10 Oct 12

Slonik says...

It seems to me that much of the work done in Orpington was ill-conceived and/or poorly executed. I have no idea what the Council did with regard to inspecting the works whilst in progress, but it was obvious that a lot of what was being done looked pretty shoddy. Perhaps someone at Civic HQ could confirm what the inspection regime was during the construction phase? If the visible areas were so obviously poorly finished, it wouldn't be beyond belief that the major earthworks and subsequent consolidation process could also have been sloppy and maybe that accounts for all the subsidence and other movement which has been evident.

I have heard that some of the work may have been subcontracted when progress was behind schedule and, if so, that could account for some of the issues I suppose but one would have thought that proper inspection should quickly have revealed any problems. Certainly 'straight and true' lines are a thing of rarity in Orpington High Street and I just wonder how any self respecting tradesman involved in the works could consider what was done to be of an acceptable standard. So my final questions to Civic HQ are when did the alarm bells first start ringing, what was done about them and how could such sloppy work have been passed in the first place? Given the nature of this issue, I feel the Council should be far more forthcoming with information about what went on, what mistakes were made and what lessons have been learned. Orpington High Street needs to be put right and we really don't want another costly debacle in Beckenham.
It seems to me that much of the work done in Orpington was ill-conceived and/or poorly executed. I have no idea what the Council did with regard to inspecting the works whilst in progress, but it was obvious that a lot of what was being done looked pretty shoddy. Perhaps someone at Civic HQ could confirm what the inspection regime was during the construction phase? If the visible areas were so obviously poorly finished, it wouldn't be beyond belief that the major earthworks and subsequent consolidation process could also have been sloppy and maybe that accounts for all the subsidence and other movement which has been evident. I have heard that some of the work may have been subcontracted when progress was behind schedule and, if so, that could account for some of the issues I suppose but one would have thought that proper inspection should quickly have revealed any problems. Certainly 'straight and true' lines are a thing of rarity in Orpington High Street and I just wonder how any self respecting tradesman involved in the works could consider what was done to be of an acceptable standard. So my final questions to Civic HQ are when did the alarm bells first start ringing, what was done about them and how could such sloppy work have been passed in the first place? Given the nature of this issue, I feel the Council should be far more forthcoming with information about what went on, what mistakes were made and what lessons have been learned. Orpington High Street needs to be put right and we really don't want another costly debacle in Beckenham. Slonik
  • Score: 0

9:57pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Invicta58 says...

Slonik – I admire your optimism but you are more likely to see Elvis riding Shergar past the War Memorial than Bromley Council coming clean and revealing what went wrong with the High Street. They were blinded by taxpayers money being flashed by TFL, who have their own agenda, and were completely out of their depth.

A poor design, badly installed, and incompetently managed.

Bromley are following form and there will be minimal information put out – certainly a lot less than the fanfare before the launch. The last lot of major repairs just had a very small notice tied on a lamppost a few days before as the scheme is a major embarrassment and they don’t want any attention drawn to it. We’ll only find out what’s going on when we see traffic held up even more than usual.

Unless of course any councillors want to come on here and tell us why it went so spectacularly wrong, and how they plan to put it right. I won’t hold my breath.
Slonik – I admire your optimism but you are more likely to see Elvis riding Shergar past the War Memorial than Bromley Council coming clean and revealing what went wrong with the High Street. They were blinded by taxpayers money being flashed by TFL, who have their own agenda, and were completely out of their depth. A poor design, badly installed, and incompetently managed. Bromley are following form and there will be minimal information put out – certainly a lot less than the fanfare before the launch. The last lot of major repairs just had a very small notice tied on a lamppost a few days before as the scheme is a major embarrassment and they don’t want any attention drawn to it. We’ll only find out what’s going on when we see traffic held up even more than usual. Unless of course any councillors want to come on here and tell us why it went so spectacularly wrong, and how they plan to put it right. I won’t hold my breath. Invicta58
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Fri 12 Oct 12

Slonik says...

Perhaps the journalist responsible for this article could put some of the specific questions that have been raised here to the relevant council members and seek proper answers. If there are sound reasons why it went so wrong they will surely be able to explain what happened and what's going to prevent it happening again. Continued silence on the matter will, however, only add weight to the notion that someone somewhere took their eyes off the ball and badly let down Bromley taxpayers, local businesses and residents alike.
We're all waiting for your answers Bromley...
Perhaps the journalist responsible for this article could put some of the specific questions that have been raised here to the relevant council members and seek proper answers. If there are sound reasons why it went so wrong they will surely be able to explain what happened and what's going to prevent it happening again. Continued silence on the matter will, however, only add weight to the notion that someone somewhere took their eyes off the ball and badly let down Bromley taxpayers, local businesses and residents alike. We're all waiting for your answers Bromley... Slonik
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Mon 15 Oct 12

Invicta58 says...

And there you have it - deafening silence from Bromley who are incapable of forming any sort of response, or arrogance that we don't deserve any answers.

More tarmac has been splodged in today (Monday 15th Oct) to add to the scoreboard. My running total is now 23 patches just outside WH Smiths.
And there you have it - deafening silence from Bromley who are incapable of forming any sort of response, or arrogance that we don't deserve any answers. More tarmac has been splodged in today (Monday 15th Oct) to add to the scoreboard. My running total is now 23 patches just outside WH Smiths. Invicta58
  • Score: 0

8:55am Thu 18 Oct 12

Slonik says...

Yes I've seen ploughed fields which have fewer undulations than that fine example of workmanship. The Zebra crossing near Broomhill Road isn't much better but it seems the tarmac man hasn't noticed.
BTW, I've reported the two new gullies which were built at the bottom of Broomhill Road several times now as they are permanently clogged. Given the appalling workmanship elsewhere, it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't actually connected to anything...
Yes I've seen ploughed fields which have fewer undulations than that fine example of workmanship. The Zebra crossing near Broomhill Road isn't much better but it seems the tarmac man hasn't noticed. BTW, I've reported the two new gullies which were built at the bottom of Broomhill Road several times now as they are permanently clogged. Given the appalling workmanship elsewhere, it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't actually connected to anything... Slonik
  • Score: 0

9:53am Thu 18 Oct 12

mareen says...

I have taken to addressing any complaints directly to the Chief Executive, Doug Patterson at the London Borough of Bromley as it would appear that anyone else adopts the attitude of how dare we question the questionable. I wonder how long it will take if we all do that in future, for an investigation being made by him on how his staff actually perform. Mr Patterson's email address is on the borough's website. I must give this man credit where it's due, the various departments that I have previously contacted and had very little response if any, have sprung in to action once he's involved. We pay for this service through our Council Tax and have every right to question when we see our money being inappropriately used or a service that is falling in standards.
I have taken to addressing any complaints directly to the Chief Executive, Doug Patterson at the London Borough of Bromley as it would appear that anyone else adopts the attitude of how dare we question the questionable. I wonder how long it will take if we all do that in future, for an investigation being made by him on how his staff actually perform. Mr Patterson's email address is on the borough's website. I must give this man credit where it's due, the various departments that I have previously contacted and had very little response if any, have sprung in to action once he's involved. We pay for this service through our Council Tax and have every right to question when we see our money being inappropriately used or a service that is falling in standards. mareen
  • Score: 0

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