West Sussex contractors could be charged for digging up streets

  • Permits suggested for digging up streets
  • ‘Get it right first time’ approach
  • Action follows Tarmac protest

CONTRACTORS who dig up the county’s streets could be charged in a clamp down on ‘inadequate’ temporary fixes with unsightly Tarmac patches.

West Sussex County Council is considering a permit scheme, requiring firms to pay a fee every time the highway is excavated.

A report in the agenda of tomorrow’s full council agenda reads: “In future the proposed permit scheme for street works will provide the county council with greater influence over the reinstatement of utility companies and will require firms to pay a permit fee every time the highway is excavated, providing an incentive to ‘get it right first time’.”

The proposal comes seven months after criticism over numerous patches in Worthing town centre, billed as ‘temporary’ fixes which had not been repaired for months.

Worthing journalist Paul Holden daubed the county council’s complaints department number on several patches in protest.

Officers have visited the town centre to identify the defects, which will be challenged with those responsible.

The affected streets have been recorded in a central database, which can be accessed by utility companies.

Mr Holden said he was ‘delighted’ to see the issue finally being taken seriously.

He said: “Michael Cloake (county councillor for Worthing Pier) has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get this matter on the agenda.

“Worthing is sick of being treated as a second class town by County Hall, which receives, annually, more than £41 million from Worthing taxpayers.

“However, the county council has so far failed to address the issue of historic Tarmac patching which continues to blight our precincts.”

The county council added it was intended in future that the highways contractor will keep a stock of materials to ensure that first-time repairs can be completed without the need for temporary repairs.

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