Liberal Democrats say local people have lost patience with Herts County Council over highways

March 22, 2016 10:25 PM
By Cllr Malcolm Cowan

The Liberal Democrat group in Hertfordshire has submitted a motion to next week's County Council meeting condemning the record of the highway contractors employed by the Council since 2012.

Councillors state that there is a catalogue of issues which have caused irritation right across the county and are calling for a review of their record on the £40 million a year contract.

Cllr Malcolm Cowan who is seconding the motion said: 'We are so fed up with the performance of the highways contractors - Ringway and others.

Potholes are either being badly filled or ignored, reports of flooding are being treated as 'not a priority', faults are being ignored and improvement schemes are being delayed for the most trivial of reasons.

It is a huge catalogue of problems. Local taxpayers pay millions for these contractors to keep our highways repaired and operating. In fact the county council is having to pay extra in compensation and is paying twice for some faults.'

The Liberal Democrat motion says:
This Council is dissatisfied with the many failures in the highways service, such as:
- delays in carrying out work, with routine slippage into subsequent years
- lack of responsiveness from many highways and contractor staff, including inaccurate information to residents
- Ringway's failure to carry out the basic housekeeping, including drain clearance, maintenance of signage, litter picking on high speed roads, that has given rise to the emergency programme announced recently
- faults being marked as closed despite the issues not being fixed, eben where there are serious defects
- fault reports being downgraded and left unfixed even when they are serious defects
- fault reports being left in some cases for well over a year with no feedback to the person complaining
- failure to deal with flooding problems and blocked gullies
- occasions of inadequate and incorrect notifications and engagement with local councillors
- failure to clear vegetation blocking pavements, even when as a result pedestrians are forced to walk into the road - particular street lights not being fixed for months or even years'

and calls for an all-party review on how to reorganise the service to deliver a more reactive, robust and cost-effective service to Hertfordshire residents.