Liberal Democrat Councillors are bringing a motion to Gloucestershire County Council, with the aim of repairing public confidence in Gloucestershire’s highways.
Every resident of Gloucestershire knows that the highways system is failing on various levels, with councillors from all parties inundated with appeals from residents to fix potholes, mend broken infrastructure, replace signs, cut overgrown vegetation and clear leaves from drains – in addition to reports of dodgy traffic lights and poor-quality repairs.
Moreover, this is a situation that is progressively deteriorating, with the number of potholes increasing in the last three years, from 24,668 in 2019/20, 36,447 in 2020/21 and more than 43,000 in the first half of 2021/22. Satisfaction surveys have similarly shown a decline from communities, with 53% of residents satisfied with the highways in 2016, going down to 52% last year.
For this reason, Councillors Roger Whyborn and Lisa Spivey are bringing a motion next week calling for the Council to conduct a root and branch review, in consultation with the districts, parishes and communities, of the way we deliver highways services.
Proposer of the motion, Cllr Roger Whyborn said:
“Time and time again, the condition of our roads, broken street signs, overgrown hedges or dodgy repairs are the number one topic of conversation on the doorstep.
“And, despite investment, it is a situation that is getting progressively worse – with the number of potholes on our roads more than doubling in recent years, and resident satisfaction surveys down.
“Meanwhile, communities feel completely detached from the Highways process and have no opportunity to engage in discussions about where their taxpayers’ money is spent. We need to change this, which is why we’re calling for this council to review the way it delivers highways service and assess how it can devolve decisions on spending priorities to the lowest possible level, to give power back to our communities.
Seconder of the motion, Lisa Spivey, also commented:
“Every resident in the county knows a dreadful highway near them, and the situation is particularly problematic for rural communities like mine, where the crumbling roads are a constant blight.
“We know that Highways officers are hard-working individuals, but there is an undeniable issue of leadership which means that officers are not able to reach their potential.
“I’ve frequently heard fellow councillors from across the political divide deride the roads near them, so I look forward to this motion being the start of a conversation to get this situation fixed once and for all.”