Coun­cil asked to prove pot­hole cash will be spent of ‘good qual­ity’ re­pairs

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by JAS­MINE RAP­SON Lo­cal Democ­racy Reporter

TAX­PAY­ERS’ money is be­ing wasted on “poor qual­ity” road re­pairs ac­cord­ing to one parish coun­cil which fears county chiefs are not “in con­trol” of the pot­hole spend­ing.

Frus­trated Chal­font St Peter parish coun­cil­lors say Bucks County Coun­cil (BCC) is “fail­ing to ful­fil its obli­ga­tions” with road re­pairs as many dam­aged high­ways re­main “un­safe”.

In a let­ter to BCC the parish coun­cil crit­i­cises county chiefs for re­ly­ing on res­i­dents to re­port pot­holes on­line, stat­ing “it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of BCC to in­spect the high­way, not res­i­dents”.

Con­cerns were raised that peo­ple are putting them­selves in dan­ger by tak­ing pho­tos of pot­holes at busy junc­tions as they at­tempt to col­lect ev­i­dence to send to BCC.

The parish coun­cil added it finds it “bizarre” that BCC be­lieves the roads are im­prov­ing as “that is not the im­pres­sion of most peo­ple”.

While it “wel­comed” the an­nounce­ment £20 mil­lion will be ploughed into Bucks’ de­te­ri­o­rat­ing roads, the parish coun­cil has called for proof the money will be spent wisely on “good qual­ity re­pairs.”

In May it was re­ported that BCC was alerted to a stag­ger­ing 3,552 pot­holes in Jan­uary this year - com­pared with 743 in De­cem­ber 2017 as harsh win­ter weather added to the grow­ing num­ber of pot­holes.

In a let­ter to leader of BCC, Martin Tett, the parish coun­cil said: “The parish coun­cil be­lieves that the high­ways are in an un­safe con­di­tion and that BCC is not, there­fore, ful­fill­ing its obli­ga­tions with re­spect to road re­pairs.

“The in­crease in re­port­ing is be­lieved to be in part the re­cur­rence of pre­vi­ously re­paired pot­holes which have been poorly filled and oth­ers which have been ig­nored un­til they have turned into a ma­jor breakup.”

How­ever Cllr Tett hit back, stat­ing prob­lem is not ex­clu­sive to Bucks as coun­cils across the coun­try are fac­ing “sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems” when it comes to road re­pairs, adding it is noth­ing to do with “poor man­age­ment”.

Re­spond­ing to the parish coun­cil, he said: “Let me tackle head on the premise un­der­pin­ning your view, namely there is no short­age of money, this is sim­ply a mat­ter of in­ef­fi­cient and in­com­pe­tent man­age­ment.

“If that were the case then it would ap­ply to just about ev­ery county coun­cil and uni­tary au­thor­ity in the coun­try.”

Cllr Tett said the per­cent­age of per­ma­nent and tem­po­rary re­pairs is closely mon­i­tored and around 60 to 70 per cent of pot­holes are now be­ing per­ma­nently filled.

He added that BCC’s con­tract with ser­vice provider Ring­way Ja­cobs in­cludes “penal­ties” if re­pairs are “not up to stan­dard”.

PHOTO: JOE GID­DENS/ PA WIRE

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