Essex Tories say filling potholes “not a priority”

News / Sat 17th Dec 2022 at 11:24am

ESSEX County Council says filling potholes is not a priority while the cost of living crisis is hitting the authority reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

It comes after a motion from the Labour group that highlighted the financial situation highways is in. Budgets for maintenance and trimming of verges on roads across Essex is set to be scrapped.

It means funding responsibility for the work carried out by Essex Highways Rangers is being passed to districts and boroughs, even though those authorities have admitted facing tough financial conditions themselves.

The decision from Essex County Council to halt funding of the Highways Rangers – who carry out cleaning and minor repairs on road signs and bollards, trim vegetation to improve the visibility of signs and ad hoc grass cutting and strimming of highway verges – comes after it admitted it was running a policy of “managed decline” on its roads.

Even at current levels Essex Highways are investing less than half the annual amount required just to ‘stay still’, exacerbated even more by inflationary pressures.

The value of annual deterioration, is modelled at £77.7m per year across Essex. This is compared to Essex County Council’s investment of £36.675m per year to fix those wear and tear issues such as potholes.

Councillor Jaymey McIvor (Cons, Ongar & Rural) said at Full Council: “The people of Essex send us here to make sure that the priorities of the people of Essex are dealt with. And right now the priorities are not potholes it’s dealing with the cost of living.”

Councillor Lewis Barber (Cons, Constable) said: “There are certainly challenges and certainly we need to need to look at how we manage our budget but we are being innovative to try and come up with solutions.”

Councillor Holly Whitbread (Cons, Epping and Theydon Bois) said during cost of living problems funding that affects people’s health and wellbeing “must come first”.

She said: “The Labour group are living in a parallel universe with this motion.

“Whilst we all acknowledge the vital function the county council has in keeping Essex roads moving, and as Councillor Barber outlined the different challenges that we face at this difficult time, this out of touch motion just fails to acknowledge or just ignores the wider economic challenges being faced by this council and indeed the nation. This motion is purely about political point scoring.”

She added: “At this difficult time we must level with people and the people across Essex that we have difficult decisions to make and in these difficult decisions people must always come first.”

Councillor Aidan McGurran said: “If ever there was any doubt about how out of touch some Conservative councillors are I think they’ve provided proof of it today.

“I don’t know which residents you’re talking to but if the state of our roads and potholes doesn’t come up I would be absolutely staggered.”

He added: “I thank the member for being honest about the fact that there are challenges facing our highways provision. However I would say it’s far more than challenges. It really is coming to something when the council’s own highways department describes what’s going on with the state of our roads as managed decline.”

The motion had called for the council to declare a “highways emergency”, that the leader of the council writes to the Secretary of State for Transport requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the current financial black hole regarding highways, and that the leader of the council writes to the new Chancellor opposing further cuts to local councils.

The motion failed.

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20 Comments for Essex Tories say filling potholes “not a priority”:

2022-12-17 11:49:58

From the make a claim webpage: Before you invest your time making a claim against Essex County Council you should be aware that 90% of claims against us are rejected. So your on your own.

Joan Cook
2022-12-17 11:52:39

We’ve had pot holes (craters) in Harlow long before the The cost of living crisis! Can’t make that an excuse.

2022-12-17 11:58:13

Tories out!!!!

2022-12-17 12:06:44

Health and well-being comes first!?! What about being able to travel to your place of employment safely so you can you can try to cope with the cost of living crisis? What about being able to take your kids to school, go to the supermarket, go anywhere safely? What about the increased cost of our damaged vehicles? This is poor Essex County Council.

Richard Adams
2022-12-17 12:14:12

The County Council doesn’t have a choice about filling pot holes. They have a statutory responsibility to maintain the roads in a safe condition. I can’t see how they can opt out?

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-17 12:36:01

Dear oh dear oh dear. Essex County Council, does this mean we don't have to pay road tax then.???.?? HARLOW COUNCIL CAN FIND A MULTY MULLION POUND DEAL TO BUY INTO HARLOW TOWN CENTRE. But here you all are telling us, you carnt afford this and that, is this for real. This council will not get in again if we keep seeing you spending money on your pure vanity project s, and not giving a dame about the people who live here. You don't hear us, you don't see us, and badly miss Reading the people of this town ,, and country come to that. People, I say again people, before profit.

2022-12-17 14:05:28

We pay the our taxes in return for essential services. If we are not getting what we pay for then it is fraud, pure and simple. I suspect in 10 years we will have a new political party running this country as the parties we have available at the moment clearly are not interested in the majority of people. They only seem to pander to smaller and smaller minority groups who know how to work the lobby system. As for the roads, our politicians clearly have no idea how much our crumbling road network is costing this country. Maybe we should Organizer a tax strike where we all stop paying taxes until the government get their priorities right.

Tony Edwards
2022-12-17 14:22:24

So what do the local Harlow Tory County Councillors think about this? Perhaps Your Harlow can ask Cllrs Souter, Hardware, Johnson and Garnett for their views.

2022-12-17 16:46:24

These potholes remind of the state my face was left in after Sam B bust up on my chops on that fateful day in Mark Hall!

2022-12-17 22:33:51

Are we really surprised about this? Essex County Council hasn't treated potholes as a priority for a long, long time. The roads in Harlow, and this part of Essex in general, have been in a terrible state for years now. A Tory Government drastically reduces funding to local authority's over the last 12 years, which results in a Tory Council not having enough funds to treat the repair of potholes as a priority. What does that tell you?? #CutsHaveConsequences #GetThemOut!

2022-12-18 09:18:33

Hsving wasted billions of pounds as a government and Essex Cc trashing the transport system in Harlow with pinch point funding along the A414 by a succession of schemes and topping it with j7a it's time to recognize the Tories couldn't manage a Christmas Party in a brewery. Totally incompetent Trussconomics.

2022-12-18 09:32:22

The only priority the Tories have is filling the wallets of nom doms, property developers and their friends. They have failed on every front. Brexit: fail: Ppe failed (no excuse had they learned the lesson from SARS), Northern Ireland: failed: NHS: total failure: Education: totally fecked : Businesses: fail: Transport: fail: Council Housing : failed: Grenfell: still failing. Propagation of Parliament: corruptied. Environment: trashed: Rivers polluted: Selling National assets and services (the family silver) to foreign governments : successful at securing under investment and brake down. Be gone.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-12-18 10:50:54

How about stopping the building of the transport corridor between the train station and Town Centre and spending this money on getting our existing roads fixed first. Why not give our bus station a lick of paint and instead of spending the £8 million Harlow Council is going to spend on building a new one just yards away, on getting the existing roads fixed I am afraid that yet again our Councillors at both ECC and HDC have demonstrated just how out of touch they are with residents, taking the view that they know best. It would be interesting to see what action ECC are actually doing to help residents tackle the "cost of living". What are they trying to achieve? Who are they helping? How is success measured?

Nicholas Taylor
2022-12-18 11:22:51

If roads are no longer a priority, there can be no hope for Cllr Swords election pledge to make Harlow's cycle track system the "best in the world". How can those Parties supporting the development of thousands of homes around Harlow and in the Town Centre expect new residents to get on their bike instead of using their car when our cycle tracks are in such a poor state.

Iain Lindsay
2022-12-18 13:15:37

I wish some of the people who seem to spend most of their lives on this website would dedicate as much of their time learning spelling and English grammar. That way, they may be able to get their point across more easily.

2022-12-18 14:27:13

So repairing potholes is not a priority but when it comes to deciding how much to pay for the bosses taxpayer subsidised fancy cars and private health insurance it suddenly is a priority. Snouts in the trough comes to mind.

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-19 10:31:28

Oh that made me chuckle. Dan swords said he wants to make cycle tracks the best in the world. I've been ridding my bike out of Harlow for years, why, because there's been no change or repairs for years, the cycle tracks that actually dont go anywhere, ya have to stop and get in road. And still there's no change or repair, in a dreadful state for years. Lian, ya means you. Thought better clarify that. 😂

2022-12-19 13:02:54

What a country we are living in with the smaller district councils need to rebel against their own county council. It really begs belief how anything happens really given the disconnect the whole system is, yet we're paying monthly into these organisations without option or input. Aside from just accepting it being told the decisions made are for our benefit or in the interest of Essex residents and only hearing from the chief commissioners once a year to tell us about services. It's all theatre!

2022-12-19 19:12:28

What happened to the govement money that council was given to fix the craters

Sonia Smith
2023-04-10 09:25:33

Potholes more like craters on Harlow roads. Driving along Harlow Roads is so⁹ dangerous swerving to miss these craters is a daily worry.Planning a route to miss the worst roads.Paringdon Road is one of the worst.The motorist pays very high taxes why aren't,' they used to fix the roads.I have always voted Tory but unless the road repairs are not apriority I will not. What is Robert Haflon's opinion on the state of Harlow roads?

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