Letter to Editor: Potholes: I find it hard to understand why Essex county council treats its Harlow citizens with such disdain
Your Say / Thu 16th Mar 2023 at 09:58am
I FIND it hard to understand why Essex county council treats its Harlow citizens with such disdain.
The state of the roads around the town are an absolute disgrace, and have been for some time now, due to endless dangerous potholes which are threatening peoples lives , let alone their cars, every time they venture out of their homes in their cars.
As a Tory supporter, I am appalled by the lack of action in this area. How on earth can we hope to improve the town’s image and attract inward investment when such basic infrastructure is blatantly neglected?
I, and many of my Conservative friends and colleagues, will ensure that no Harlow MP or local council will remain in Tory hands if this shocking situation is allowed to continue.
The time to rectify this appalling disregard for your voters is now.
Michael, it's all about money nowadays. Priority seems to be collection of tax but not spending it IMHO.
The easiest way to register anger over the pothole saga, is to remove all the tory councillors at the next election. This has been going on for years and they've achieved nothing for the town.
That's the only way things will change Michael. If people don't change how they vote or indeed take the time to vote, then nothing will change. The growing number of independent councillors elected across the country proves that voter power can and does make a difference. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party.
The Conservative supporters in Harlow have been taken for mugs. You are probably not rich enough to be on their priority list. I do remember a sadly departed Conservative councillor for Old Harlow telling me some years ago: "It doesn't matter which party sends councillors to Essex County, they just don't care about Harlow." I would imagine this is because Harlow is way too working class for the likes of the Tory snobs at County Hall.
Essex County Council have ignored the appalling state of the roads across Harlow for many years. I recently invited the highways portfolio holder Cllr Lee Scott to visit Harlow and see the situation for himself. He declined. ECC seem to think it’s unimportant in a cost of living crisis, I say it’s even more important due to the expense of constant vehicle repairs brought about by the shocking road conditions. I have a petition running which you may wish to sign and share, there have also be a number of demonstrations across the town to highlight the problem and there will be many more in the future until we get the roads we have paid for. www.change.org/fixharlowroads
The reply I received from Cllr Michael Hardware. Excuses, excuses, excuses. "Not our fault". They think we're stupid. Thank you for your email, and I agree completely that Harlow's roads are in need of repair - I too travel around Harlow regularly, as you would expect, both by car and bicycle, and I have experienced this myself. But this is not just a Harlow problem, or an Essex problem, it affects the whole country. The high temperatures last summer followed by the extreme cold this winter, coupled with the rains we had after Christmas, have combined to cause more than the usual damage to our road surfaces. With 40 degree heat (which is much higher on road surfaces) followed by the ingress of water into cracks and holes, and then freezing, simply breaks the surfaces up. During the winter months only emergency repairs are done due to the weather and temperatures, and the fact that the highways maintenance teams also man the gritting lorries around the county. Road patching and repairs are very much weather and temperature dependent; being ineffective if it is raining or freezing. Your county councillors have been busy reporting pot holes, and escalating the dangerous ones where necessary. The Members Pothole Scheme was run in the autumn where councillors could nominate potholes to be repaired, even if they did not meet the criteria - I spent several weekends touring estate roads in my division logging and reporting potholes. All these have been repaired but have been replaced by many more. Essex County Council announced an additional £9million for pothole repairs in its budget last month, half of which will be spent through the next round of the Members Pot Hole scheme. The Government in the budget just today has announced a further £200million for pothole repairs, with Essex getting over £5million of that, and Harlow Council is also looking at ways to assist ECC with pothole repairs. I have received numerous notifications of road closures in the town over the coming months, so work is going to be done. I do hope you can bear with us, we have been doing everything we can. The budgets are being allocated and the potholes reported, but not much work has been possible due to the season, but spring will (hopefully) be upon us soon and works can go ahead. With best wishes Michael
By the way - it is all because of the wrong kind of weather!
This is a load of rubbish We have had £50 million spent on junction 7A Of the M11 and they can't get that right has there is potholes already in the new Jct
Simple get a different set of councillors as Essex County Council is useless and as self profiteering! The Essex Council has the same faces year in year out and they even think the useless bus lanes in Harlow are safe to cross from a junction! Old councillors with old views get rid I say!!!!!
From travelling around Norfolk and Suffolk over the last few years, I do wonder if Essex CC have lower standards than other areas. There were roads in both areas marked for repair that Essex would not even consider. The Essex reporting website is such a mess it is difficult to see what is what. For example, what does "Repair will be undertaken with a non-specified timescale" really mean. To be forgotten about? The members led scheme helped, but now more repairs are needed. Some of the "repaired" patches are already falling apart.
Lets be honest Nick, there should never be a members led scheme, there are well paid officers in ECC who should be out and about inspecting and prioritising pot holes to be repaired. Councillors are not paid officers and have no experience of doing such work or indeed trying to win political favours by getting pot holes repaired.
To correct the record James, Lee Scott has visited Harlow five times in the last 4 weeks meeting with councillors, the Leader of the Council and Robert Halfon MP.
And, Cllr Dan Swords, what was achieved by those visits? Is there a plan that can now be published? If there is when and where will it be published? Harlow needs action not just discussion! Labour is not without flaws on this subject either. Lets imagine that many more people than normal come out to vote in May and Labour wins convincing majorities in both Harlow and Essex County Council, what will they do differently and how will they pay for it?
You say you want more people leaving cars at home, correct, you say you want people using there bikes, correct, then make cycle tracks, and roads safe, for people to do so. I speak as a life long cyclists who hasn't used my bike for two years, because of state of them. Not worth it. If you don't make this a priority, then your defeating your Own goals, of making it the town that you all want it to be.
Our roads in harlow are an embarrassment to our town and it councillors. They are bloody holes in the ground it can't be rocket science to fill them in... Now we are not getting our new hospital you think they could fill in a few thousand potholes in harlow. PS start with ones outside burntmill school.