Motions to Essex County Council

Full Council
12 Jul 2016 - 10:00 to 16:00
Occurred
Council Chamber

Agenda item 8  Motions under Standing Order 16.11.2 

2. Highways Defects
Moved by Councillor Colin Sargeant and seconded by Councillor Chris Pond.
‘Council notes that highway defects have now been reduced to acceptable levels on PR1 and PR2 carriageways, and congratulates Essex Highways staff accordingly. However, this success has been achieved at the expense of defects worsening and becoming more numerous on footways of all categories, and on the carriageways of local roads, especially in towns. It has become more difficult to secure repairs even to significant defects in such locations. Council calls upon the Cabinet Members to build upon the welcome start made on heavily used footways in 2015, by redoubling efforts, and to amend intervention criteria to ensure the worst defects on footways and local roads are rectified in a more timely manner.’

 

‘Thank you Mr Chairman. 

The 2015/16 financial year saw a £1.4million underspend on Highways routine maintenance, which if applied equally across the County’s Divisions, would have provided a much needed extra £20,000 worth of repairs to my Clacton East Division’s residential roads and footpaths.

Some capital money was diverted to help alleviate this; and following our group's successful motion two years ago, a start has been made on repair of residential roads and footways across our county. However, I can assure fellow members that this ‘injection’ has yet to descend the food chain to Clacton East.  

The particularly poor sections of roads and/or footpaths are in Oxford Road, Valley Road, St. Johns Road, North Road, Oxford Crescent, Thornbury Road, Severn Road, Madeira Road, Kings Avenue and The Chase.  In the UK one drives on the left – however along Valley Road and the rest of the B1027 artery – we drive on what’s left on the road!

Travelling around Tendring, it would appear neighbouring divisions are faring not much better.

Potholes have become more numerous and have become deeper.   Paving slabs have become more pronounced and more precarious too.  White ‘Give Way’ lines at junctions have vanished – so much so that I have heard of locals threatening to paint or touch them up themselves,

These delays to repairs and the judgements that potholes are not deep or wide enough to warrant repair are frustrating; however the failings of the reporting and cataloguing mechanisms are equally infuriating.

Members will be only too aware that Highways matters form a considerable part of the role of a backbench county councillor.  So much so that when I was elected in March, I expected as part of my Member Induction, to be handed a schedule, of some description, detailing all the Highways faults which have been reported by my predecessor or the residents – i.e. the “Caseload at Day One”.  This proved not so.  How was I to know whether a deep pothole had been already reported as a fault or not..?  Might I suggest that steps be taken to ensure this facility IS provided to each of the May 2017 new intake.

In this day and age, a system of real value should be able to give the Member at the press of a button a SNAPSHOT of the live, dormant and dead cases existing in her or his Division.  They should automatically receive a monthly update.  The member would then be enabled to then filter, interrogate and manipulate the information on the basis of division and roads etc. so as to monitor the progress of her or his Division’s cases.  

An aggregate of these would give the Cabinet Member useful information for Essex as a whole. 

‘Report It’ – is cumbersome and unfit for purpose.  For example, at a later date it is nigh impossible to correlate a reference number with an actual location.  Double, triple and multiple reporting are the norm – resulting in the unnecessary clogging up of the processes and the inappropriate consumption of administrative resources already at a premium.  The fact that the Highways and Member Enquiries systems appear not to ‘talk to one another’ must be surely have not gone unnoticed by other members…

In conclusion, I give you a quote: “Essex County Council has announced a massive road regeneration programme.  What we need is a Councillor who can work with the administration to bring this much needed work and repairs to this area.”       Words not of mine; but of my Conservative opponent, at the March by election…

Adoption of Best Practice by Essex principles could identify a better tool used by one or more of our fellow counties

I fully agree with him.  I am doing my utmost to make this happen.’

 

Thank you