Council accused of U-turn over pot holes

Pothole.
Pothole.

Lincolnshire County Council has been accused of performing a U-turn on a long-awaited plan to improve the system for reporting and tracking pothole repairs.

The authority had spent several months attempting to roll-out the new online system which would make it easier to report potholes and allow people to follow the progress of specific repairs.

Last July, Coun Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways at the County Council, admitted there were ‘teething problems’ with the upgrade.

Speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council, Coun Davies pledged the new system would be up and running by the end of the year.

However, it has now emerged the County Council has put the upgrade on hold.

County councillor Bill Aron, who represents Horncastle at County Hall, said he believed the system could not be upgraded and it was time for he termed ‘a re-think’.

Coun Aron made his comments at Horncastle’s annual town meeting and he faced a backlash from town mayor Coun Brian Burbidge and resident Andrew Neal.

Coun Burbidge described the entire system for reporting potholes as ‘not fit for purpose’ and questioned why it had taken so long for the County Council to discover the system could not be upgraded.

Mr Neal said the apparent U-turn by the authority was a ‘disgrace.’

In a statement, Coun Davies said: “We’ve recently had to make changes to our fault reporting system to ensure it continues to stay in line with the rules around data protection, which have recently been updated.

“An interim system is now in place, meaning that people can continue to alert us to any issues they encounter on the roads.

“We are now working on integrating the new long-term replacement with our existing systems.

“We can assure you that all faults reported will continue to be dealt with as normal.

“We are not currently providing automatic updates on the progress being made on reported faults as we have done in the past, but people can find out the latest by contacting our customer service centre.

“While we realise that town councils often like to get these updates from the highways officer personally, we far prefer to have our staff out dealing with highways issues than in the office on the phone.

“Town councils can also raise matters with their local member, or, for complex, ongoing issues, request an annual meeting with their councillor and the local highways team.

“In addition, myself and my support councillor, Coun Perraton-Williams, have committed to visiting each parish and town council with the local highways team during the next 18 months.”

Coun Davies will attend a Horncastle Town Council meeting on July 10.

The county council has spent millions of pounds on road repairs this year but admits it would take ‘hundreds of millions more’ to bring all roads up to the standard they would like.

There have been complaints from residents, businesses and town and parish councils about problems with the system for reporting faults.