One man war on cash waste

Paul Hayhurst has launched a campaign to get highways chiefs to fill in the pot-holes littering roads.
Paul Hayhurst has launched a campaign to get highways chiefs to fill in the pot-holes littering roads.
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A ONE-MAN campaign against the local highways department which is accused of “wasting council tax money” has been launched.

Coun Paul Hayhurst, who represents Fylde at County Hall, claims highways staff are not doing the job they are paid to do as complaints come in to him every day about the state of local roads.

He said he has been calling for an internal inquiry into the department for the last six months.

He said: “Hardly a day goes by without somebody reporting problems with potholes to me and flooded gullies.

“What’s happening is teams are coming out to fill potholes but the work only lasts a few weeks and, rather than being done properly in the first place, they are being done time and time again.

“And we also have a situation whereby people are reporting potholes in the road and the team does two or three of them, but half a dozen nearby are not done so they have to come out again.

“I just find it incredible the amount of money wasted by the county council not doing its job properly in the first place.”

Coun Hayhurst, from Elswick, said the worst road for potholes is Heyhouses Lane in St Annes and he had been asking the council to look into its system for reporting highways complaints.

He said the system – a help line – was either not being monitored or messages from residents were not being passed on.

He added: “The council should not be relying on people like me and the general public to report potholes.

“It should be on top of the job.

“The roads are getting like those in Albania, and if we don’t do the work now the cost to the tax payer to rebuild the roads in the future is going to be horrific.

“I feel as though I am banging my head against a brick wall.”

Coun Hayhurst launched his attack on the highways department in a flyer sent out to his constituents, in which he asks for residents to let him know of their highways complaints.

Speaking to The Gazette he said: “It’s embarrassing and frustrating as a county councillor when you see the state of the highways department, and the fact people are constantly reporting problems which are not getting done or have not been done very well.

“I mounted a one-man campaign before Christmas to try and get everything in my patch done.

“It’s an uphill struggle.”

County Councillor Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport defended the council’s record.

He said: “Potholes are caused by the cold so we expect to be dealing with more at the end of winter, but we will repair them and have invested £205m over the past four years in maintaining roads and footways.

“We carry out a year-round inspection regime and try to repair potholes as soon as possible, but also welcome calls from the public which often mean we can find out about a problem and 
respond more quickly.

“One of the new techniques we’ve brought in to improve the way we repair potholes is to put large patches over areas where potholes are grouped together, rather than repairing them individually.”

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