Give councillors a say on highways contract extension, urge Lib Dems

MPs are seemingly getting more of a say on Brexit than local councillors on highways matters, say Hertfordshire Lib Dems, after their motion to allow for councillor-led scrutiny of the highways contract was quashed by the Conservatives at full council earlier this week.

Liberal Democrat County Councillors slammed the Conservative-run council’s plans to award a five year extension to contractor Ringway worth £250m before agreeing the terms of improvements needed. The contract extension follows considerable and continued complaints from residents about poor highways performance.

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Joint action between Herts CC and SADC at last

St Albans City & District Council has joined forces with Hertfordshire Highways to carry out street cleansing and highways repairs within roads that are heavily parked. Confirmation of the TTRO permits for the date and roads listed below came through yesterday so I needed to deliver letters to all residents today. (Copy of letter attached)

Brampton Road – 15.11.17

In additional to these roads work is also planned for Cavendish Road and Alboin Road but as yet dates and permits have not been issued.  As soon as we have these I will write again.

Highways contractor with £1m+ fines set to get further five year contract

Liberal Democrat opposition councillors at Herts County Council have hit out over a decision to recommend that its main highways contractor, Ringway, is set to be awarded an extended contract for another five years.

Ringway has been fined just under £1.2m for poor workmanship in the last 5 years, leaving opposition councillors scratching their heads over the decision to extend Ringway’s services.

Deductions totalling £1,187,348 have been made against Ringway’s contract for poor performance against set standards, with more fines pending this year.

The contract, in place since 2012, is worth over £182m and covers the provision of highways works across Hertfordshire. Only last week Shropshire Council announced that Ringway were to be replaced by Kier to manage its highways. Ringway had won the contract in 2011 but had a number of problems.

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst exposed last week that the Conservative council were to recommend that Ringway get an extended contract at the November meeting of the County Council’s Cabinet Panel for Highways. Stephen comments: “I am shocked that the Conservative council want to award Ringway another five year contract, just saying it’s ok because they are improving! There has, on the face of it, been no market testing, something I thought the Conservatives were in favour of. Are there no other highways contractors that are more efficient and cause fewer problems for Hertfordshire’s residents?”

“It is almost daily that my colleagues and I report issues that do not result in fines but are just sloppy jobs or things that are being ignored. One has to think there must be a better choice.”

 

Conservative county council set to agree current highways contractors can carry on for another five years

Opposition councillors at County Hall have been shocked and angered to hear that Herts County Council are intending to extend the contracts of much-criticised highways contractors Ringway for a further five years.

Councillors were informed in a short email sent on Monday afternoon, with the news that the full decision would be made in November.

“This was a bolt out of the blue,” said Leader of the Opposition, Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst. “Over the past six years there has been considerable criticism and many justified complaints from residents and councillors about the poor state of our roads and pavements. Despite the poor performance of the highways contractor it seems that Conservative councillors and county council officers are prepared simply to grant Ringway a further five year contract. (more…)

County Council plans for junction of Hatfield Road and Station Way

Note from the County Council

Hertfordshire County Council has been working on a proposal to improve the pedestrian crossing within the existing signal controlled A1057 Hatfield Road/ Station Way junction in St Albans. The objective of the scheme is to facilitate safer pedestrian access to the St Albans Railway Station Complex from the northern side of Hatfield Road. I am contacting you to provide you with an opportunity to give feedback on the scheme.

A pdf of the diagram is here: ITP17007-CONSULT [1]

Let us know what you think!

 

Sandpit Lane closure

Message from the County Council:

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on Sandpit Lane, St Albans.

The works are due to commence on Monday 6th March and are programmed to take approximately 10 Nights to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Sandpit Lane between the junctions of B651 Sandridge Road and  Lemsford Road.

The Road closure will be set up between the hours of 7pm – 5am, the highway will be clear  at all other  times.  The final phase of the scheme will be completed using off peak Lane Closures / Stop Go Boards.

Conservatives vote down Lib Dem proposals to increase highways spending by £7 million

At the budget setting meeting today at County Hall, councillors heard about the Administration‘s  plans to reset spending on roads, pavements, gulleys and culverts back to 2012/13 levels.

This means over £4m million more than spent last year, after a series of cuts in spending over the last four years. They also heard about £3.5m extra Government grant for potholes and fixing pavements.

Liberal Democrat Leader and Highways Spokesperson, Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, said: “Our surveys of residents say that the state of our roads and footways is the number one issue  in the county and Hertfordshire Lib Dems don’t think enough is being d on e to add re ss this. Funding for repairing our roads and pavements needs radical resetting, as any resident can tell by driving their local streets and seeing for themselves the damage and unrepaired faults.” (more…)

Conservatives slash £9 million from highways budgets over 4 years

Local councillors have seized on figures from Herts County Council, showing spending on road and pavement maintenance and improvements have reduced every year over the past four years.

Spending on highways has plummeted from £39.2 million in 2013-14 to £30.1 million this year. This is despite inflation meaning that less can be done for the same amount of money, and the ever-deteriorating state of local roads and pavements.

Cllr Malcolm Cowan, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall said, “The Conservatives are continually telling residents that spending on roads is going up. These figures, provided by independent and council officers, show that in fact this vital spending has fallen every year for four years.

“The council are forecasting an increase next year. However they did exactly the same this time last year and instead we have seen another fall.

“No wonder local residents are complaining more and more about potholed roads and trip hazards on pavements”.

Note from County Council about closure of Sandpit Lane

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on Sandpit Lane, St Albans.

The first part of this scheme is on-going under traffic signals, however, the works requiring road closures will take place on Monday 13th February and are programmed to take approximately 5 Days to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Sandpit Lane.

The works have been carefully phased and will be split into two separate closures, given the location of each site along Sandpit Lane:

Closure 1: Road Closure of Sandpit Lane between Jct. Marshalswick Lane Jct. House Lane: 9:30am – 4pm to carry out Drainage Investigation, Verge / Tree Works.

Closure 2: Road closure of Sandpit Lane between Jct. B651 Sandridge Road Jct. Marshalswick Lane: 8:00pm – 5:00am to carry out Carriageway Surfacing, drainage and Road Marking works.