Labour Party officials have led calls for Suffolk County Council to think again about how they allocate money to improve the state of the roads in Suffolk after it was revealed that almost 10,000 potholes were reported since October 2013.
Concerns have also been raised after it was revealed that the County town will receive only £350,000 of the £3million allocated by the government to repair the roads in Suffolk, a figure that will not cover the current level of need for repairs in Ipswich.
Labour County Council spokesperson for Roads and transport Cllr Sandra Gage said; “We were told when KierMG was awarded the contract last year, that this was a locally based company, with its take-over of May Gurney, and with much of the County Council expertise transferred to the company this would be a seamless transfer. This has not been our experience in Ipswich or much of Suffolk.”
She added; “Standards in routine maintenance has dropped, residents in Ipswich have inundated their Councillors with lists of roads that remain in a poor state. When these complaints are referred to KierMG, we are frequently unable to get a date when any works can or will be undertaken, let alone a satisfactory repair. Kier MG took over the maintenance of our roads in October and since then there has been a poor response rate, poor communication with local residents and Councillors, and drop in repair standards. I repeatedly reported one pot hole on Woodbridge road which took KierMG three attempts and several weeks to satisfactorily repair. Why? Because they said the road was too busy to repair properly. Much of the claims around better engagement made in the Scrutiny paper describes new procedures not yet in place, only now being considered following ongoing criticism from the Suffolk and Ipswich Labour Councillors”.
The Labour leader on Ipswich Borough Council David Ellesmere is also concerned about the state of the roads in Ipswich now. Cllr Ellesmere is worried that the figure of 10,000 potholes was only the tip of the iceberg. He said; “Anybody looking at the state of the roads in Ipswich will see the shocking state of repairs. The really worrying thing is historically we have had quite mild winters. We are concerned funding is not being allocated properly”.
The KeirMG contract will be discussed by Suffolk County Council the Scrutiny committee on Wednesday 7th May.
Ipswich Borough Council had delegated authority for maintaining the roads in Ipswich until Suffolk County Council withdrew the agency arrangement on the 1st April 2013 and then outsourced highways services to KeirMG in October 2013.