I have never complained about such expansion, but, being 'in the trade' (Highways / housing etc. within local authorities for many years) I have noted some patterns, perhaps, better called 'observations' or ... points ... I'd like to share.
The propensity to be frugal in the short term leads to long-term losses:
LA's lose enormous amounts of money and cause many problems in the long term, when agreeing to developers plans for services to these new homes... and to see it happening repeatedly is a little frustrating to say the least.
This provokes some questions? Given such foresight surrounding such plans, why is the road being dug up alongside my house for the fifth time in eight years?
Eight years ago, an excellent trench was dug to accommodate three major power cables. Since then additional gas, cables, water and street lighting have all been added, one after the other. If the sewerage needs an upgrade, the disruption will be more than the sum of the rest.
Each trench dug, for each service added, causes noise, pollution, highway damage, creating dust and spreading mud. each trench weakens the very fabric of the highway. The acceleration to failure, of that original trench (as analysed in previous blogs) is palpable. In relatively 'New housing estates', depressions in the carriageway are obvious & kerbs are falling away from the edge of the ‘road’ while verges, hedges and bulb planting are wrecked by road-men who have no eye for green-stuff.
Why does this have to be done three, four or five times over?
Looking from within 'the trade', the answer is obvious.
The original sizing of services is based on the initial demand, a 10 cm gas pipe will take roughly ¼ of the gas flow that a 20 cm gas pipe will take. The cost of 300m of a 10cm dig, support, traffic management, supply, backfill and reinstate is about 85% of a 20cm one. But the developers opt to pay these costs multiple times, over fifteen years, rather than pay 100% once!
This is a private sector over-spend of 155% by design!
And what happens as a result, the highways leading to that estate look damaged and weary, making the homes they are building harder to sell! Disruption to the locals, businesses and even the traffic building the new estate are all delayed adding to their costs, reducing capacity and increasing the costs of homes (again)
Is there common sense in these approaches?
Unfortunately no ... as is often said, "common sense isn’t very common."
Purpose and learning points:
Developing existing and ‘New Towns’ is always done in a piece-meal way, destroying perfectly useful assets while repeatedly digging up highways to add more small services to previous small services.
This short Blog simply asks the Government to work out how they can break this stupid process and plan for those developments in the pipeline.