Roads around a South Manchester estate which were resurfaced for ‘no apparent reason’ are now in a worse condition than before, residents say.
Several streets at the Grove Estate in Withington were treated with micro asphalt – a waterproof surface supposed to prevent further degradation. But residents have complained about the condition of the roads which were not in urgent need of repairs and have left ‘loose gravel’ all over the estate.
Contractor Kiely Bros, which carried out what residents call the ’embarrassing’ work, has been called in to sweep the streets more regularly following residents’ feedback. However, local councilors say this will not solve all the issues at the estate.
READ MORE: ‘Dangerous’ and ’embarrassing’ – Why Andy Burnham wants to take control of Manchester’s train stations
Maria Vittoria Catamo says her children used to rollerskate and play football with their neighbors in the streets – but it is now too dangerous to do that. The Brixton Avenue resident says the roads were better before the work.
She said: “My kids used to play with the other kids in the street – it was beautiful and unique. The kids don’t enjoy being on the street. They can’t any more. We’re always talking about community. It’s removing this.”
Alistair Kell, who lives in Westbourne Grove, described the work carried out as ’embarrassing’, accusing the contractor of ‘taking the piss’ and arguing that the council should have been ‘far more diligent’ in managing that work. According to residents, the contractor blocked a drainage gully, tarmacked around parked car and damaged a lamp post with a vehicle while sweeping.
Alistair suspects there was an ‘unseemly rush’ at the town hall to spend the money still left in the highways budget before the end of the financial year. However, he believes that the money would have been better spent elsewhere.
He said: “The roads themselves in the area actually didn’t need attention. I’m quite sure the money could have been far better spent in other areas. There are, I’m sure, far better uses of that money than resurfacing.” the Grove Estate.”
The work commissioned by the council were part of a planned program of improvements in the area and incorporated into the wider highways budget. Council sources say the loose material on the road surface is common and contractors have been instructed to sweep the streets when necessary.
They insist the roads are not damaged and will improve over time with use. But local councilors who also live on the estate say extra street sweeping alone will not address all of the issues and work has not yet been completed.
The Old Moat councilors, who represent the area, said they share residents’ concerns about the quality of the recent road resurfacing work on the estate. They said: “It is not acceptable, and we have continually been raising this with the highways officers at the council and also with the council leadership too.
“We have asked for a site visit to look at how all these issues can be fixed. We look forward to action being taken to address all these concerns in the near future.”
A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “The works which were carried out were part of a program of planned improvements in the area. In the areas where works were carried out the roads were in a condition known as ‘mid-life state’ where they had begun to degrade, but had not degraded to a level where a complete re-surface would be required.
“Treatment of the roads with micro asphalt provides a waterproof surface to prevent further degradation of the road, as well as providing better skid resistance on worn or polished road surfaces.”
Contractor Kiely Bros was contacted for comment but refused to respond.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.