September 20 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Saturday, April 12, 2014
An Essex MP on the warpath over Colchester potholes has unveiled his “cunning plan” to get them fixed by drawing the internationally acclaimed Tour de France to the Roman town.
Sir Bob Russell told parliament he plans to invite the organisers of the cycle race, viewed around the world, to hold one of its stages in Colchester to guarantee that potholes were attended to.
The Tour will be racing through parts of Uttlesford, Braintree, Chelmsford and Epping Forest later this year.
Mr Russell claims that the picturesque village of Finchingfield, which is also on the tour route, had seen its whole road resurfaced at great expense.
Adding: “If I can get the Tour de France to come to Colchester, it would ensure that our potholes were filled in.
“I am sure that my constituents could design a route to maximise the number of roads and potholes to be attended to in their area. For example, on the Monkwick estate, I would nominate a route that included Queen Elizabeth way, Prince Philip road, Prince Charles road and Coronation avenue.”
Sir Bob added; “Behind my mockery, there is a serious point — namely, the performance, or lack of performance, of highway maintenance in Colchester under the auspices of Essex county council.”
But an Essex County Council spokesman said the Finchingfield work had been identified before the tour route was confirmed and works that were planned to be done regardless of the tour. He said work had not been identified outside of its normal evaluation criteria.
He added: “The race organisers have stated that provided the road surface meets our current policy standards this is a sufficient standard for the race.
“Hence, no additional works will be required. Essex County Council is not making any financial contribution to the organisation of Le Tour, so there will be no additional cost to the Essex council tax payer.”
He also said extra ECC investment had gone into highways, despite severe pressures on council budgets.
“That investment has meant we’re fixing more defects in Colchester every month and our latest figures show there are 164 fewer defects on priority routes in Colchester borough than in June last year,” he added.