I think it reasonable to say that when Essex County Council announced it was going to put £5 million into upgrading the unadopted roads in Jaywick Sands, most residents were both sceptical, but hopeful.
But over the course of the last couple of years, they have, to some degree, kept their promise.
However, as per expectations of a lot of people, it has become all too apparent that the overarching aim of ECC has less to do with improving the situation of residents and more with creating a favourable impression for the media and visitors.
The initial works in Brooklands, a highly publicised part of Jaywick were supposed to be followed by similar improvements in Grasslands, never featured in media coverage.
But, shock of shocks the budget had been depleted by an overspend on Brooklands. So we were told that the remaining funds would be spent on drainage inspection and improvements to the ‘Sea Ways’ between the Broadway and the Promenade.
Which resulted in all new roads being constructed.In addition, the pavement on the Seaward side of the Broadway was resurfaced, despite being in no worse state than the opposite side.
Beach Way, Sea Way, Lake Way, Yew Way, Fern Way and Gorse Way received what could most charitably be described as a ‘patch up’ job to the concrete surfaces to borderline Bodge it and Run.
Eventually, when new funding was allocated, the works in Grasslands were begun as was the tarmacking of Belsize Avenue to the Martello Tower.
There was then a hiatus to accommodate the Summer Holiday season.
Finally, at the end of September, the entrance into Gorse Way was Tarmacked and work was begun on Belsize Avenue leading to the Caravan Park.
However, when the Tarmac patching of two areas in Gorse Way was queried, the response was:
“I can confirm that there was never an intention to tarmac Gorse Way in its entirety.”
Something which most of the residents of those roads had thought to be the case.
“Some areas on various roads were marked up for consideration in the road plans but not all were included due to restricted budgets.”
That was a bit of a knockback as most of the damage had been marked up many months before.
So yet again an area away from media scrutiny and regular visitor access was to be overlooked, what a surprise.
Finally, after providing details of the potholing in Gorse Way the patches were installed near the end of October.
Meanwhile, in Beach Way, now after four weeks plus of works, (longer than the whole time spent on Gorse Way, Sea Way, Lake Way, Yew Way and Fern Way) that have seen the aprons on both sides of the road being concreted despite some being at best a foot wide and several yards being completely concreted.
Strange how the budget suddenly ran to works being done in a more visible area.
In Gorse Way, the concrete section of which is certainly no wider than Beach Way there are puddles on both sides and patches that are cracking up after less than a year. There are drains in the puddled areas, but because of there being no higher surface around them have zero effect
So excuse me for being less than enamoured with the ECC Highways priorities, which as ever seems more based on PR than need.
Those in the less publicised area of Jaywick Sands obviously need to make more noise to be acknowledged or heard by Essex County Council.