Letter to local newspapers by Chells County Councillor Robin Parker
Recently there have been a number of justifiable complaints, both in the local media and direct to me, about the appalling state of the road surface in Chells Way, which is a major road right in the middle of my county division of Chells.
In fact, the problem with Chells Way has been evident for a year or two and, in this time, I have put pressure on the responsible highway authority, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) to repair it. Apparently, until I raised the problem, HCC’s computers had not picked it up! It is of great concern to local residents because it is dangerous and makes the area look neglected.
Like all county councillors, I have a budget of £90,000 each year for highways works. Some residents have asked me to spend it on repairing Chells Way. However, estimates for the cost of the necessary work at Chells Way have ranged up to £285,000, so clearly my budget would not cover the work. Instead, over a year ago, I put the job on a suggested list for the HCC Integrated Works Programme (IWP) which is decided and controlled by the engineers, not councillors, and was the only way forward for me to get the repairs done.
To keep local residents informed, I did write detailed update for local residents in the January 2016 issue of Liberal Democrat News, which was delivered to all doors in a wide area, including all of Chells Division. At that time, I was told by HCC that the repairs would be done in two phases, half in 16/17 and the rest in 17/18, finance permitting – and this is what I put in my newsletter.
However, HCC have changed their mind and I am pleased to report that they now say that all of Chells Way, from the roundabout with Fairlands Way to the roundabout with Six Hills Way, will be re-surfaced in one phase in 16/17, although they cannot yet tell me in which month it is likely to be programmed. This includes repairing the dreadful humps and chicanes near The Glebe, which have been of dubious value ever since they were installed by Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) in 1990, in the days when SBC, not HCC, were in charge of Stevenage’s roads. All the work is still dependent on a final go-ahead by the HCC cabinet this month.
In reality, Chells Way is only one of a large number of highways jobs that badly need attention. For many years, at HCC budget time in February, the main opposition Liberal Democrat group have formally proposed extra money be spent on essential highways works – and we have suggested from where the money would come – but we are always voted down by the huge Conservative majority.
I am sure that, like me, residents are fed up with the third world state of our roads.