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Herefordshire Council Notice

WARD COUNCILLOR'S NEWSLETTER (JUNE 2018)

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to respond to my recent questionnaire. Some valid points were raised regarding the condition of our roads and the problems caused by the heavy snow we experienced earlier in the year.

Iíll try to put everything into a wider context, without trying to make excuses. We have some 2,000 miles of roads in the county, with 600 miles being classified as primary routes which must take priority for repairs and this includes many miles of ĎAí class roads.

We have a reasonably efficient telephone and web based system for reporting defects and we urge our residents to inform us of any pot holes etc. as soon as possible, as our contractors canít inspect all the roads every day.

The heavy snow we all experienced a few months ago took everyone by surprise and coupled with the exceptionally strong winds, we were faced with blizzard conditions not seen in this country for over 30 years.

Our contractors (Balfour Beatty) have sufficient equipment to deal with the normal amounts of snow and ice we can reasonably expect year on year and every piece of equipment was employed this time in an attempt to keep the main roads open. Even this proved difficult and the crews were working 12 hour back to back shifts to keep on top of the problems, but it proved physically impossible to reach some of our more rural villages, especially with some locked and abandoned cars found buried in the drifts.

Local farmers have been employed on contract for many years to help keep their local roads clear of snow and ice and this year they proved their worth by doing a sterling job under those difficult and very challenging circumstances.

Our ageing road network was not built to carry the 44 ton trucks travelling through the county and the enormous tractors now used by local farmers cause a huge amount of damage to our minor roads, verges, gullies and ditches. Snow, ice and heavy rain also play havoc with the road surfaces and a small crack filled with ice or water can turn into a pot-hole within just a few minutes.

The government has promised £100m towards country wide road repairs and I understand we may receive £1.25m in the near future, but unfortunately this wonít be enough to deal with the backlog. Weíre now testing a new self-contained system, known as a velocity patcher, for repairing our minor roads, which so far has proved to be a great success.

As Iím sure youíll appreciate, our major concern is a lack of sufficient funds to carry out road and other repairs to everyoneís satisfaction. With only about 90k households in the county, we donít collect enough council tax to pay for everything and we rely on revenue support and other grants from central government to help plug the gaps. With about 2/3rds of all the council tax we collect going towards adult social care and childrenís services, thereís not much left once the Councilís other statutory responsibilities have been covered, so itís all a matter of priorities.


Cllr Bruce Baker
Hampton Ward

Date: 05/06/2018
Contact Name: Cllr Bruce Baker
Email: Bruce.Baker@herefordshire.gov.uk

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