February 26, 2021 7:04 PM

South West Shropshire Local Joint Committee met on Wednesday (24th February). This is the first meeting in well over a year to demand action on the poor quality of our roads. The informal meeting was ably Chaired by Councillor Nigel Hartin ( Clun Division) and was really well attended on Zoom.

Eighteen councillors, Clerks and Shropshire Councillors, Nigel Hartin (Clun), Ruth Houghton (Bishops Castle) and Heather Kidd (Chirbury and Worthen) listened to a presentation from Andy Wilde (Head of Highways) and Mark Barrow, Director of Place, Shropshire Council. This was then followed by the Parishes and Shropshire Councillors raising a number of serious issues in our rural area.

These included:

  • How long does it take to fill a pothole?
  • Why is the standard of work so poor at times?
  • Why are ditches, gullies and drains not a priority which frequently leads to quite serious flooding?
  • Why does potholing stop if gritting has happened the night before?
  • Why are roads that are in quite good order top dressed when others in poor condition are left as they are?
  • How long does the Council expect sets of temporary traffic lights to be in place before work is completed?
  • What can we do about the size and weight of vehicles using our lanes?
  • If we have two thirds of the roads in South Shropshire, do we have 2 thirds of the funding?
  • Are planning going to make sure any development contributes to highways locally?
  • How are Shropshire Council going to improve any of this as they admitted the Contract with Kier had not been adequate?

Cllr Nigel Hartin said "The presentation answered some of these and the officers others. It was clear that we should expect all potholes to be filled in 20 days, that there are improvements going on in drainage, that we need to change the staffing levels around gritting and potholing so that winter maintenance does not stop potholing from happening - across the whole County, that there are problems limiting the size of agricultural vehicles on our small roads the Council are working with the NFU, there will be discussions with planning and the standard of work will need a cultural change.

Some questions were not fully answered and I will be pursuing those and further detail on some areas."

Councillor Ruth Houghton commented " I will be watching potholes in the Bishop's Castle area to make sure they are filled in 20 days! I have many now that are still waiting after months! We all need now to hold Kier and Shropshire Council to their improvement plan. "

Cllr Heather Kidd concluded " This was a useful meeting and showed the value of all the Parishes working together as the area committee to raise issues and try to bring constructive ideas on solving local issues. We hope to have more of these on local important issues.Thanks to the Officers and all the Parish Councillors who attended."