Ipswich: War of words breaks out over kerb repairs on estate roads

Mud on the kerb at Inverness Road. Mud on the kerb at Inverness Road.

Paul Geater paul.geater@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
10:01 AM

Labour councillors have warned that the privatisation of Suffolk’s road maintenance work has meant it is more difficult to get small schemes undertaken.

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They are especially concerned that the cost of minor repairs means that kerbs and pavements cannot be properly maintained on housing estates in Ipswich.

However politicians at the Conservative-controlled county council insist problems with getting work carried out has nothing to do with the decision to transfer the road maintenance work to private company Kier MG in October last year.

County councillors each have a “locality budget” of £12,000 to spend on any projects in their division and a further £8,000 to spend on highways improvements in their division.

Labour transport spokeswoman Sandra Gage said that since the transfer it was difficult to get any work done, because much of the budget would be swallowed up in designing any improvement. Previously officers would have prepared a plan and the money would have been spent on implementing it.

She said: “If it costs £2,500 to get a proposal designed, which is the going rate, it leaves very little to actually make any improvements – they can say the transfer has been successful, but that’s not our experience on the streets of Ipswich.”

She had hoped to spend her £8,000 on improving kerbs in her Rushmere division in Ipswich, especially in Inverness Road where neighbours have been complaining about their condition.

However Suffolk transport spokesman Graham Newman said the change was nothing to do with 
the transfer of the highways contract.

He said: “This is something that was happening sometime before the service was transferred. We were finding that councillors were asking our engineers to draw up plans – which they were doing – and this was taking them away from their other important business.

“We had to put a cost on that – and that is the situation that continues now that the contract has been transferred.”

Mr Newman said it was possible to add part of the general locality budget to the highways budget if there were road programmes costing more than £8,000 that councillors wanted to be developed.

“Or they could link up with neighbouring councillors to pool their locality budgets,” he added.

10 comments

  • "However politicians at the Conservative-controlled county council insist problems with getting work carried out, has nothing to do with the decision to transfer the road maintenance work to private company Kier MG in October last year"...... Yeah right!!! Private sector companies are naturally in it to make money. Small unprofitable jobs in any privatisation environment are never going to get done if it is not going to yeild a profit, and everyone knows it.

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    england1770

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Before spouting off contributors really should know a little about the subject. Since none of them bothered to attend the meeting last night where this very item was discussed at the North West Area Meeting or live in the area concerned. Firstly the reason the verges in Inverness Rd (Rushmere) and Waterford Rd (Whitehouse) are churned up is that they have over the last 5yrs been turned in to main bus routes. The full size (including double decker) busses are too big to even pass a car coming the other way on these roads without going up on the verge. Thus in the first dry winters the grass was worn away, then as we have had wet winters they have churned the mud and dug big furrows in the verges. If you look at the pictures or visit Waterford Rd the holes are too big for car to have done. Secondly people have taken to parking on the verges to try and get their cars out of the way of the busses where the busses where having to squeeze by. Finally in Waterford Rd for 4 months in 2013 it became the main road as Lovetofts Drive was closed. At that point the traffic was driving over verges when busses stopped at bus stops because they couldn't get past any other way. 2 buses comming in opposite directions had to go up on the verges to pass each other. I know of a row of 4 houses rebuilt in the 1980s that have drives so they never park on the verges where transit vans and trucks where going around busses and drivng for 100yds effectively off road to go past the bus stop. Even when a child was hit by a car the lovely people of Ipswich decided to drive on the verges to get around the Child laying in the road. If it wasn't for a brave man standing in the road with a torch stopping them, I am sure they would have just run the child over. When the Anglia Water did the work on Lovetofts Drive the residents of Waterford Rd were promised that the contractor would "make good" the damage. But obviously that has been renaiged on. Yes a very small minority maybe 2 or 3 houses do park inappropriately but the damage has been done as above not be residents or only by residents trying to get their cars out of the way of 16 ton busses being run on roads with 7.5 ton weight limits which the Police, Council, Ipswich Busses seem to ignore. Last night Mr Newman quite clearly said "no money" sorry because Suffolk CC sees buildings being hit in Sudbury and Clare as more important. So these two estates in Ipswich start to look like the WW1 battlefields and you wonder why people think councils are useless and pointless.

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    The Ginge

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Its got nothing to do with the busses, they do not stop for long if the idiotic moterist were to be patient and wait there would be no need to drive on the verges, it is all over Ipswich empty driveways, people parking on the grass when driveways are empty, I say charge the people for parking on the grass to pay for repairs, remember every car has a number plate traceable back to the owner, lets see more traffic wardens doing this, we have two cars and a works vehicle, ALL PARKED OFF ROAD

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    MADS

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Oh no !, not another 'successful privatisation' by the tories ?

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    freedomf

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Poppy & Mads comment's should be taking note of by our Council , it's the idiot car driver's doing all the damage , here on Ravens wood estate when they were building the restaurant's they destroyed the verge's , one has parked a burger van in his driveway and turned the verge's outside the house into mud swamp's , Get the traffic warden's to put warning note's on their windscreen's then book them for illegal parking , that way they would recover some of the money for repairing work ,,

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Oh no !, not another 'successful privatisation' by the tories ?

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Inverness road quite simply needs to be bulldozed! The road is very narrow with obscene wide verges, the prefabs are tatty sheds that serve no purpose in todays modern world other than keeping the rain of peoples heads. The whole plot could be redesigned, redeveloped and not only look 1000% better but be functional and future fit and energy efficient. I am so concerned by the lack of vision from IBC, I appreciate the connectionbond people establish with their homes; however a new home which retains heat, has solar panels, wheelchair access, off road parking facilities better street lighting, wide un potholed roads with new drainage.. the list could go on. Please wake up IBC, and the residents of this location "life could be so much better!"

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Its got nothing to do with the busses, they do not stop for long if the idiotic moterist were to be patient and wait there would be no need to drive on the verges, it is all over Ipswich empty driveways, people parking on the grass when driveways are empty, I say charge the people for parking on the grass to pay for repairs, remember every car has a number plate traceable back to the owner, lets see more traffic wardens doing this, we have two cars and a works vehicle, ALL PARKED OFF ROAD

    Report this comment

    MADS

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I hope you do not mind the Second comment on this but I think it important people know the facts and are fair to all the councilors involved. Mr Newman is correct in that Local Area Councilors do have £8k to spend. But in the past Suffolk CC did free of charge to the local councilor, but cost Suffolk CC money, by having engineers doing the necessary drawings, plans and getting the permisions, letting the contract etc. Then the £8k would be spent directly with the contractor. Now some would say quite correctly Suffolk CC now recharge there Engineers costs, whether internal or external. So the £8k pot is now bearing all the costs without the £8k being expanded to cover this. So you can't get so much done. Hence the frustration of IBC councilors not geting much done. Secondly by IBC giving up control of Roads to Suffolk CC the whole of Suffolks needs are assesed as a whole and Suffolk CC sees it priorities else where as more important than Ipswichs. So the estates start to look rough, people start to care less about their area, and eventualy you get failing dirty council estates. But dealing with that does not come out of Mr Newmans budget, so he does not worry over the big picture. As Mr Newman and Suffolk CC have made promisses to keep Council Tax rises to zero percent and told Central Government that they agree with the reduction in the state so we will take big cuts to our grant without complaint Suffolk CC is cutting £156m from a £550m budget over the next 5yrs. So get used to having less and the place looking dirty because all Suffolk CC and IBC are going to be able to do is look after Children and the old and other statutory duties, the rest will get left to rot until our Town is a dump.Mr Newman is doing the job the voters of Suffolk asked him to do, which is not raise council tax at 2% a year or over the last 5 years puting £10 a month on your bill. By saving £10 you pay the consequences and please dont moan about it, you can go and get another bottle of Red Wine for that rather than making your Town a place to be proud of. My dad came from Yorkshire, and as they say you get nowt for nowt.

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    The Ginge

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Well if the residents didn't keep parking and driving on the grass the verges wouldn't be in such a state ! Did they think the council put grass down for them to drive all over it ? Now taxpayers money has to be spent on the repair . Either grass it and stop people parking on it or concrete it over . Isn't inverness road where the prefab houses are too !

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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