Saturday, 24 March 2018

Road problems not being dealt with, say councillors

POTHOLES in the roads and problems with pavements have angered parish councillors in Peppard.

They are demanding action, saying that little or nothing happens when problems are reported.

A parish council meeting last week heard that a stretch of pavement in Stoke Row Road has been covered in mud for more than a month despite having been reported via the Fix My Street website, which Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, asks people to use.

Last year a resident was injured when they slipped on the muddy pavement.

Simon Crouch, chairman of the parish council, said that when the mud was last cleared it was merely pushed on to the bank so that it reappeared when there was heavy rain.

He said: “It is slippery and dangerous. Last year someone fell over and had to go to accident and emergency. It was because of the dirt and debris. It has been registered but nothing has happened.”

Although the county council is responsible for roads and pavements, issues such as mud or litter are the responsibility of South Oxfordshire District Council.

David Nimmo Smith, who represents the village on the district council and is a former county councillor responsible for highways, said he would have the mud removed.

He added: “What should happen when it is reported on Fix My Street and it’s a district council responsibility is the system passes it on.”

David Bartholomew, the village’s county councillor, said he was dealing with a puddling problem in Stoke Row Road, near the junction with Gallowstree Road, caused by blocked drains.

When it rained large puddles formed and took a long time to disappear, so the county council was considering installing a new soakaway.

Councillor Bartholomew said: “The situation has been going on for quite some time. I have contacted the drainage team about action and asked to know where we are. 

“There has been a reorganisation, which has delayed things, but that is not a satisfactory reason for this extended delay. I hope to be able to give a further update shortly.”

Councillor Joe Berger said that roads across the parish had potholes.

He said: “I just despair at the state of the roads. It can’t cost a lot to get three or four guys with a truck and tarmac to go round and fill the holes. I don’t know why you can’t do something like that.”

Cllr Bartholomew said the county council had budget constraints which meant repairing roads was less important than social care so potholes had to fit certain criteria in order to be repaired. 

He said: “We are offering opportunities for parish councils to become a super-user, which means representatives could be trained to properly identify the potholes and go through the criteria.

“The balance is difficult because we spend 52 per cent of our budget on social care and about 10 per cent on roads. We have a statutory obligation for social care.

“Highways is moveable because they have to be an adequate standard but if you report a pothole on Fix My Street it will be fixed.”

Meanwhile, parking has improved in Shiplake Bottom, Peppard, after a councillor complained.

Veronica Treacher, who lives in the street, said she was unhappy about her neighbours parking inconsiderately, blocking pavements and driveways.

But she told last week’s meeting that the situation had improved since her complaints were published in the Henley Standard.

Councillor Treacher said: “People have been slightly more circumspect with their vehicles. Vehicles have been parked on driveways and in proper parking spaces.

“Most people I have spoken to have noticed that it has got better.”

She added that residents had also got better at leaving their bins out at the right time and in the right place, which had also been a problem.

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