District council wants to take charge of Uttlesford pothole problem

A GROUND-BREAKING idea aimed at tackling Uttlesford’s gaping pothole problem has been mooted by the district council.

The brainwave is to transfer the responsibility from the county council to Uttlesford District Council in a bid to repair damaged roads quicker and more cheaply.

There is concern the district’s rural roads are being neglected because repairs to main roads are a priority – potentially paving the way for an increase in accidents.

District and county councillor Robert Chambers said the authority was keen to hear what residents thought about the plans.

“We have asked Essex County Council whether it would be possible for the process to be managed at district level to ensure a more efficient and better service,” he told the Reporter.

“The county council has to prioritise what to fix and focuses on main roads. This means it can take months and months to get a pothole mended on more minor rural roads.

“We believe we could cut a lot of the bureaucracy out of the process and carry out the repairs quicker and cheaper than the county council.”

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He was not aware of any other districts that had come up with the unique suggestion and added that the council was “hoping to lead by example”.

Saffron Walden district councillor Alastair Walters said the aspiration was one he endorsed.

“One of the major issues residents complain about is the lack of attention to potholes,” he told the Reporter.

“They are particularly dangerous for cyclists and motorcyclists and need to be attended to quicker than they are at the moment. There is also a danger of drivers swerving to avoid potholes and the potential for serious accidents because of it.

“A lot of repairs have been done but there is still an enormous amount of work needed. Ultimately, it would be better for us to do it ourselves.”

Bob Taylor at Treadfirst Tyre and Exhaust Centre in Saffron Walden said motorists were coming in daily complaining about the damage caused by pot holes.

“We have replaced more alloy wheels in the last two years than anytime since we opened 15 years ago,” he said. “The potholes in the area are horrendous and if one is hit at the wrong angle it can become dangerous if the damaged tyre is not repaired straight away.”

An ECC spokesman said it was unrealistic to fix every minor pot hole with the limited budget available although regular inspections are carried out. The council was not able to confirm the approach at this stage.