The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has recently written to the Deputy Leader of Oldham Council, with responsibility for highways, Councillor Arooj Shah, asking for a review of the circumstances in which highways are repaired when they become damaged and potentially hazardous.
Councillor Sykes explained why he feels a review, and more prompt action on repairing worn road surfaces is needed:
“Government guidance issued to all local authorities in November 2016 states that Councils must ‘investigate’ instances where road surfaces have been eroded by at least 40mm, but there is no legal requirement placed upon Councils even then to repair them promptly. In Oldham, the policy is at least to consider potholes deeper than 40mm to be eligible for repair, but one issue is that many roads in my own district of Shaw and Crompton do not even have a top surface that is 40mm thick; they can be worn away to the cobbles and present a real danger to cyclists and motorists, but as the ‘threshold’ can never be reached no action is taken. This cannot be fair or right.”
By way of constant, the threshold for the repair of pavements is lower at 25mm.
Councillor Sykes has asked for a Council review of the road erosion threshold to ensure that any road surface that becomes hazardous is repaired. He added: “I fully appreciate roads will still have to be prioritised and not all will be able to be repaired with the resources the Council has, but we should look to address the danger that any worn road surface represents to the public, and not simply operate to some arbitrary ‘threshold’.”
Councillor Sykes’s letter to Councillor Shah reads (no reply or acknowledgement as of today):
From: Howard Sykes
Sent: 14 August 2018 14:58
To: Cllr A Shah <Arooj.Shah@oldham.gov.uk>
Cc: Howard Sykes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Road surface repairs
Dear Councillor Shah,
I am writing to you to request that you review the current threshold applicable to the repair of road and footway surfaces in the Borough.
At present, the road surface has to be eroded by at least 40mm to become eligible for repair.
In my district of Shaw and Crompton, this has meant that many roads have remained unrepaired, presenting a constant hazard to drivers and cyclists, as erosion has not reached the threshold but the road surface has become pot-holed and dangerous. By way of constant, the threshold for the repair of pavements is lower at 25mm.
I fully appreciate roads will still have to be prioritised and not all will be able to be repaired with the resources the council has. Many roads have a top course that is less than 40mm so it can be totally warn away and down to the cobbles in some cases. This cannot be fair or right.
I would like you to undertake a review of the road erosion threshold in this Borough to ensure that action is promptly triggered whenever any road surface becomes hazardous.
I look forward to your response with interest.
Councillor Howard Sykes MBE