Budget blamed for lack of road repairs in Much Wenlock
Shropshire Council says it “simply doesn’t have the budget” to repair “dangerous” pathways and roads in Much Wenlock.
Councillor David Turner, member for Much Wenlock, said he was disappointed after the Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, Steve Davenport, told him repairs had not been carried out in the town because there was little money left in the pot.
Councillor Turner said some repairs he highlighted had been waiting for four years to be put right.
In a letter to full council next week, Councillor Turner states: “On January 16 this year, several members from the Bridgnorth area met the leader, at which they expressed frustration on a number of fronts including the most basic highways repairs and on unfinished highways schemes.
“Some of those members subsequently met the leader, the chief executive and the director of place on March 18 to reiterate their concerns.
“I was one of those members and we were encouraged to list three issues which could be addressed quickly. Four months on, and those items I listed have not been addressed. I have not received a progress update since April.
“The three Issues in Much Wenlock, which are the tip of a very large iceberg, were: resurfacing a dangerously uneven footway in Wilmore Street (a very short street) – reported at least as early as October 29, 2017 – the installation of the second half of a 12ft-long bollard scheme in the High Street. Four years ago, with the road closed for a day, a gang turned up to carry out the work – but brought only one of the two kerbstones with them.
“The other one was left in the yard at Bridgnorth where, so far as I’m aware, it still languishes, and the installation is ineffective as a result.
“At about the same time, a fairly simple scheme to provide some disabled parking and loading bays coupled with double yellows lines in the centre of the town went to consultation twice before being agreed.
“The traffic regulations order was signed, but little was done, it ran out of time and has not been implemented.”
He added: “I have chased these repeatedly for up to four years and have received a variety of assurances but have seen no action.
“As indicated above there are several other outstanding issues, some of them very simple and routine.
“None of these concerns should be viewed as being critical of area highways managers who are managing a large workload on a very tight budget with human resources that have been slashed to the bone.
“There is a further long list of outstanding highways works – some capital, some revenue – in Much Wenlock.” In response, councillor Steve Davenport, portfolio holder for highways, said: “We maintain over 3,200 miles of highway network, plus 89,000 gullies and 19,000 street lights.
“In broad terms we issue over 5,000 work orders to Kier every single month. In that sense this is a huge undertaking and I would like to reassure Councillor Turner that our own teams and Kier are work extremely hard to keep our highway network open and serviceable.
“I can confirm that as is the case in many other parts of the county there are highway projects outstanding in Much Wenlock that we simply do not have the available budget to address.
“We do however keep highway investment needs under constant review and we reprioritise as necessary.
“More recently work to deliver central Government grants at short notice has also been prioritised due to grant funding conditions, such as the £7.3 million from the Department of Transport that has been delivered countywide over the late winter and early spring.
“With regards to the specific outstanding works, subject to a site meeting on July 15 regarding gas replacement works with a utility provider, a permit will be required to close various roads to allow the work to be undertaken.
“During this road closure it is intended that the footpath will be resurfaced, improvements to gullies undertaken and road markings refreshed, and the bollard work completed, this is subject to agreement by all parties and will be confirmed.”