As a councillor, you get many residents asking you to help improve the state of the roads. That can mean helping to get West Sussex County Council to fix long-standing potholes, addressing a local parking issue or helping make the roads safer.
For myself as a Broadfield councillor, one issue I’ve been asked to help with for a number of years is getting a crossing installed between Trefoil Crescent and Broadfield Barton, to help people access their local shops safely, and this month it is finally becoming a reality.
Unfortunately, county councillors increasingly find their means of helping people cut off from them, with West Sussex Highways taking on fewer projects each year and the bar for issues for improvement schemes constantly being raised.
Clearly West Sussex isn’t as well-off as it used to be and the rising need for Adult Social Care will continue to strain the council’s finances even with the recent changes in the Budget. However, the county council isn’t without choices when it comes to the roads and it would be much easier for people to accept the restrictions on Highways funding if there didn’t seem to be so much waste.
West Sussex County Council outsources its Highways work, with the actual works often then being sub-contracted out again and we know that there are problems with this. Residents frequently tell me about the poor quality of repairs they see taking place, other potholes are left standing as they don’t meet the criteria listed in the outsourcing contract and there are serious concerns over billing arrangements.
At the same time, people wonder why Chichester often seems to be prioritised when it comes to investment in the roads, Chichester’s recent audit of parking being an example when Crawley’s parking problems are clearly far worse.
Listening to my residents I believe that they feel that enough is enough when it comes to the Highways, that with county’s share of council tax fast increasing every year they deserve a better quality of service than they have been getting. It is time that Crawley was put first for a change.