Friday, 27 September 2013

Redcar Flood Alleviation Scheme Complaint Part.Three

Hi all,

Over the past few days I have been bringing you up to speed with our complaint regarding the brick and rubble on our beach in Redcar. For consistency please follow the links back to the original thread. (See Redcar Flood Alleviation Scheme Complaint Part.One and  Redcar Flood Alleviation Scheme Complaint Part.Two)

The letter below is our reply to an Environmental Agency that doesn't feel they have any responsibility to the building debris left on our beach. Above and below are the new photos sent to accompany this email.


Dear Gemma,

Thank you for your assistance in bringing us a reply to our complaint. Thank you also to Mr. James Mead the Project Manager for his reply and courteous invitation to inspect the beach area with the contractor next month. We (Friends of Redcar) would accept this offer to make our case. Thank you also for the distance photo shot of Granville Terrace that does indeed appear to show red brick on the left although difficult to make out anything more. 

We, wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Mead that the materials left over has "nothing to do with our works" and cannot agree that they "ensured that the material dug up from under the beach was removed" - certainly not thoroughly enough as described.

We would concede that naturally over the many years and developments/demolitions, that material would have "washed in and out", been buried and re-emerged and in any case building material would certainly have been evident next to the old defences, prior to the new coastal defences being installed. We would not dispute that in any way. However, please consider that;

- Much of the building debris remaining is not weathered or shaped (rounded) as would be expected from material that had been left to the elements for years. 
- This is clean looking rubble and very similar in appearance along the entire stretch. We have seen "old" rubble too but not as much.
- The sheer weight of some of this debris would not suggest it had just washed in recently along the whole length of the defences after the builders departed and without being noticed. In such case there would surely be evidence of scattered debris all over the beach too. There is debris further out but is isolated to one particular area which is rocky.

By Mr. Mead's admission they did a "thorough" clean up and "ensured the material dug up from under the beach was removed". So are we therefore to assume that the jagged, clean masonry running the length of the new coastal defences, that we're speaking of, is "material washing in and out"? Well not necessarily because we are provided that picture of Granville Terrace which shows "a number of bricks" of which the contractor "cannot accept responsibility". So this is confusing. Is this new material washed up or old material already there? According to Mr. Mead both, but no way has anything to do with the construction work or the "thorough" clean up.

 The "thorough" clean up Mr. Mead describes seems to therefore discriminate against any previous masonry that was found. That during their "thorough" clean up, the contractor carefully manoeuvred passed or turned a blind eye to the bricks and rubble already there, carefully examining what was theirs and what was not their "responsibility". Ensuring that they only cleared away their own mess. How "thorough" does that clean up sound? 

Personally, I used to fit bathrooms and kitchens. When I finished I would clean up and hose down outside removing all rubbish and debris. Inside I would wipe everything down, polish it up and vacuum up and down the stairs. I would insist. And yes that would include mess I never made. Why? Because I took pride in my work and wanted to impress my customer. It was the professional and conscientious thing to do. And very much appreciated.

We disagree with and disapprove of Mr. Mead's response of what has been left and that he feels no responsibility. We are convinced that not only did the contractor leave the "nothing to do with our works" but also added to it. Perhaps our beach doesn't matter to the contractor or the pride they take with their clean up, but it does to the people of Redcar and to our tourism. 

Furthermore we're not sure why a clean up would come from "public money" and not from the contractor's purse? With respect who is Mr. Mead to speak for the public by suggesting that this is not an efficient use of money? Ask the people of Redcar and indeed any coastal town if they'd like a clean beach and we can assure you the answer would be in the affirmative. Two JCBs, three employees, our volunteers, three to five large skips and a days work to polish off a great job, is hardly going to scratch the £30 million project.

We have just had our first summer with these fabulous new sea defence in place and yet the number of complaints received about the beach resembling a building site far outweighs the complimentary comments about the work. Was that the contractor's intended legacy and public opinion?

 I have attached two more photos. The bricks and rubble displayed do not appear to be weathered from decades in the sea and were found beside the new defences. We are positive that these pieces along with the 4.5 tons our volunteers have already cleared along the defences since August this year, were left after the contractor finished working there. There simply is no other explanation and to deny this is insulting.

 We look forward to going along to inspect the area when a date is set and having extra help to remove the remaining debris.

Once again thank you Gemma,

Yours respectfully,

Carl Quartermain 

Chairman of a Friends of Redcar and on behalf of all our beach users.

If you would like to contact the Environmental Agency or the contractor to make your own point here are their details below. If you require the contact details of any of the Redcar Officials please let us know and we'll happily forward them. Thanks

Tel: 0191 203 4105 (Internal 728 4105)
Fax: 0191 203 4004

Environment Agency
Tyneside House
Skinnerburn Road
Newcastle Business Park
Newcastle upon Tyne