Town Council demands action after mounting criticism over state of Horncastle’s roads

The damaged drain and gulley on Jubilee Way which has been reported several times, but was still yet to be repaired when this photo was taken last Wednesday.
The damaged drain and gulley on Jubilee Way which has been reported several times, but was still yet to be repaired when this photo was taken last Wednesday.

Horncastle’s County Councillor, Bill Aron, has again faced a barrage of criticism over the authority’s ‘failing attempts’ to deal with road conditions in the town.

Coun Aron has previously defended the County Council, saying highways officials were ‘doing their best’ but were often restricted by budget constraints and the sheer volume of complaints.

At their monthly meeting last Tuesday, town councillors again expressed their disappointment with system and urged Coun Aron to make County Hall fully aware of the scale of their anger and frustration.

Speaking in the public forum before the meeting, resident Richard Barker said he had tried but failed to again access to the county council’s computerised system for reporting faults.

Several town councillors - including chairman Coun Brian Burbidge - previously indicated they have had the same problem.

Mr Barker said that when he contacted the customer services ‘hotline’ at County Hall by telephone, he was ‘cut off.’

He told councillors he wanted to report a number of issues, including on-going problems with a damaged drain and gulley at the junction of the A153 and A158 near the town centre.

Mr Barker said he was aware the problem had been reported several times - as far back as five or six weeks ago.

However, it had not been repaired and all the county council had done was put up bollards around the damage.

He said the bollards were then removed by ‘people probably on their way home from a good night out.’

Coun Burbidge said he had reported the damage on at least three occasions, and described the lack of a response from the county council as ‘disgusting’.

He added: “This seems to be happening more and more.

“What are you doing about it Coun Aron?”

Coun Aron replied by stressing he was reporting issues as regularly as he could.

He admitted he was as frustrated as other councillors about the lack of action - and the time it took to carry out repairs.

He revealed he had offered Coun Burbidge a ‘walking tour’ of the town to inspect other damaged roads which he would then report.

Mr Barker told Coun Aron he had little confidence in the authority when one of the biggest potholes in the town was just yards from their depot in Hemingby Lane.

Mr Barker said: “If they can’t repair something in front of their eyes what hope is there for the rest of us?”

Coun Aron went on to say an improved reporting system would be introduced at the end of this month.

He said the launch had been delayed because the county council wanted to ensure it was ‘working correctly’ before opening it to the public.

Town councillor Matthew Wilkinson said the current system showed 81 issues in Horncastle, and he again asked Coun Aron to supply a monthly update.

Coun Aron said he could not supply that information but stressed it was available on the reporting system.

He suggested Coun Wilkinson could ‘print off’ the information himself but Coun Wilkinson replied: “That’s not my job. You are the elected county councillor for this town. Do something about it.”

Coun Burbidge described the entire reporting system as ‘failing’, and said it was ridiculous no-one appeared to have information.

He added the fact town and parish councils could no longer speak directly to Highways officials compounded the issue.

He told Coun Aron to report back to County Hall and tell them exactly how the council felt.