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State of Christchurch roads 'pretty shoddy', councillors complain

A CHRISTCHURCH councillor told how she nearly took a mop and bucket to a dirty road sign amid a string of complaints about the area's highways.

Poor road surfaces and worn-out white lines also featured in reports by BCP councillors, with some saying the situation was getting worse, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Conditions were defended by BCP cabinet members when confronted with the problems at their latest meeting – although they admitted that contacting the council to report faults can be difficult.

Local roads are described as 'a disgrace' (stock image)
Local roads are described as 'a disgrace' (stock image)

Cllr Lesley Dedman, of the Christchurch Independents, said she had been tempted to clean a road sign on the town's bypass but was advised against it because of the obvious dangers.

Cllr Mike Cox, of Christchurch Town, said: “It’s pretty shoddy and the roads are a disgrace in many respects.

"We should expect more and demand more."

Another backbencher, Cllr Tony Trent, told of road repairs and re-surfacing in his ward having to be repeated because the jobs were so badly done.

Cabinet member Cllr Mark Anderson, the portfolio holder for environment, cleaning and waste, said the council was still getting to grips with different reporting methods for faults, inherited from the previous councils.

He suggested everyone should use the online tool to report problems but he admitted some reporting could be "clunky".

Cllr Anderson said money had been invested in the system, including a 25% increase in gully cleaning in the Christchurch area, and there was now a better inspection regime in place.

Across the council area there are between 58,000 and 70,000 gullies which needed inspecting at least annually, and at any one time there could be up to 100,000 requests for repairs or improvements.

He said a priority was to clean signs, concentrating on key routes to begin with.

Highways officer Simon Legg said there were pressures on the system, including clearing vegetation from paths and cycleways, dealing with a handful of sinkholes, and trying to sort out damage caused by builders.

He said he was confident re-painting white lines would improve with the appointment of a new contractor although the system for road lines work was also not yet integrated across the area.

Cllr Mike Greene, cabinet member for transport and sustainability, said that despite some local problems the government had given it a clean bill of health – and funding.

“I’m happy with the officers in the way they are carrying out their duties – they are doing it diligently and well and within the budget we are getting a good service,” he said.

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