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Resident unhappy with road works

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 04, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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A LEEK resident has asked council chiefs for reasoning over what he claims is a "slipshod method of road repair" in the town.

Franz Opitz, who lives in Leek, has sent a number of correspondences to Staffordshire County Council's highways department regarding his views on recent road resurfacing works which have been carried out in the town.

He said: "My complaint is with particular reference to the roads in the Westwood area.

"After using a very slipshod method of road repair, spending weeks of sweeping up loose gravel and grit, messing up my front garden flower beds with grit, coming out specially to remove the mess following my complaint and threat of claims, the so-called repaired roads are mostly in a distressing state.

"Along West Street, clear ruts have formed where the recently applied surface has completely worn away, and elsewhere the new surface is quickly deteriorating. Everywhere the old surface is showing through and this before even the first serious frost has arrived.

"The problem is clearly not exclusive to West Street or the Westwood area. Everywhere in Leek, even roads with only light traffic, the new surface is fast disintegrating.

"Bald patches reveal the original surface. We had road dressing before but never so awful.

"I can imagine that this is not what the highways department intended but the taxpayer will have to foot the bill.

"So awful is the quality of work carried out that it can only be regarded as a total waste of public funds.

"The parlous state of council funding makes such squandering of resources even more upsetting."

Mr Opitz has further asked the county council, under the Freedom of Information Act, for details about the resurfacing works in Leek including cost of the works, how much grit was used, how much grit has since been swept up, if the access grit has been recycled, who passed the work as fit for purpose, and what action the council intends to take about the issue.

Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council's Cabinet Support Member for Transport and Connected County, said: "The surface dressing programme plays an important role in both helping improve the life-span of the roads and making them safer for motorists by improving the skid resistance.

"In a year we typically invest more than £8million and treat more than 400 kilometres of highways across Staffordshire to help keep the county on the move.

"Following the application of the dressing, areas do require to be swept over the coming weeks as part of the "settling in" process and it is not uncommon for loose stones to be disturbed.

"However, we are aware of some issues with a few roads in the Westward area of Leek. These roads are currently being inspected every other day, at no additional cost to taxpayers, and will continue to be swept by the contractor as necessary until there is only minimal chipping loss."

A county council spokesman also confirmed that the authority has received Mr Opitz's request under the Freedom of Information Act and that the FOI team at the council "will be responding to that".

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