Monday 16 April 2018

Why are our local roads so much worse than in other areas?

If like me you do a lot of driving around various parts of the UK, you cannot but notice that the Roads in Mill Hill and Barnet are atrocious compared to most other Boroughs and other parts of the UK. At the weekend, we were in Burnham on Crouch in Essex. As we drove down the High Street, it was clear that whatever is going wrong with Barnet roads is not happening in Burnham. Just to prove the point, we made this video.

I was interviewed by the Barnet Borough Times last week and explained that I believe this is because in 2014 Barnet Council got rid of the staff responsible for inspecting and signing off repairs and brought in a cut price system of contractors signing off their own work.

I raised this with the Barnet Times. They interviewed Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, who blamed the recent cold weather for the pothole problems and insisted they would be repaired.

He said: “The roads were in quite good condition before the cold weather. We have four gangs out all the time repairing them at the moment. If they are reported, they do get fixed.”

Mr Cornelius said the council had been carrying out temporary repairs until the weather improved.

“Now the cold weather is over, the proper patching is taking place,” he added.

The council leader denied the problem was down to the use of private contractors and said the pothole situation in Barnet was “no better or worse” than in other boroughs.

Presumably the weather in Burnham on Crouch is no better than that in Barnet, but as you can see the roads are absoluitely fine. Blaming winter weather is clearly ridiculous, although there was a short cold spell, this was not a particularly bad year. Cllr Cornelius claims that "if potholes are reported, they get fixed". If the Lib Dems get in, we will put an end to this head in the sand reactive approach. We will ask refuse crews to identify and report potholes before they get bad enough to damage cars. I spoke to an expert in civil engineering who confirmed that the sooner you fix them, the cheaper it is and the longer the repairs last.

Voters in Mill Hill and elsewhere in Barnet can be sure of one thing. Councillor Cornelius has kindly made it quite clear that he thinks everything is marvellous and if the Conservatives are re-elected we will see more of the same. Both myself and my fellow candidate Richard Logue have a background in engineering. We will not be fobbed off by contractors who make excuses. We will make sure that a culture of doing things properly and not paying contractors until things are signed off will return. We believe that this will save money and give us better, safer roads. If it's good enough for Burnham on Crouch, it is good enough for Mill Hill and the rest of Barnet. And before anyone says this is just point scoring, the roads in Burnham on Crouch are the responsibility of Essex County Council. That is the council which Barnet had to bring in to sort out their childrens services, when OFSTED identified that they were failing. Essex County Council is a Conservative authority. I mention this, because it is quite clear to me that there are good and bad local authorities run by all shades of political party in the UK. It could not be clearer that, unlike Essex, Barnet are not capable of managing the business of council. Whatever your political persuasion, it is clear that Barnet Council needs change. We believe that only the Lib Dems have a credible program, that doesn't involve throwing money at programs or giving contractors pots of money and hoping it all works out fine.

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