This is my most recent column published first in the Ham & High.
Every week, at least one local resident contacts me about the state of their roads. This comes as no surprise to me. I regularly walk and drive around my constituency, and am constantly making mental notes of the new, hazardous potholes which have appeared on the road surfaces.
Along with local residents, the Haringey Lib Dems and I have run a long campaign, calling on Labour-run Haringey Council to do something about this urgently. After all, we do pay one of the highest Council Tax rates in London – the least we deserve in return are safe roads!
Don’t let anyone try to tell you this is a non-issue. These holes in the road damage cars, and cost motorists dearly. They also increase the chances of accidents, as drivers instinctively swerve to try and avoid them.
They are also incredibly dangerous to pedestrians. Just recently, Haringey Council were ordered by a Court to pay a local man £1million in compensation – after he tripped in a pothole in Hornsey and suffered a serious brain injury.
For years, Haringey Council has refused to step up and take action – preferring to pay out money on compensation for injuries, rather than investing the money in improving the roads. And this isn’t about their cash flow – they were as negligent back in 2009 when Gordon Brown was throwing money around, as they are now when we have all had to tighten our belts.
So where do we go from here? Well, under enormous pressure from local residents and the Haringey Lib Dems, the Labour Council have finally admitted that the current state of our roads is not acceptable. They are going to lower their intervention levels (that is, the criteria at which they will repair a pot hole) from 6cm deep to 3cm deep.
We now want to make sure that they do the job properly. Already, I have exposed a huge flaw in the Council’s strategy. Their road condition survey is inaccurate. For instance, one of the roads the Council marked as in ‘general good condition’ is in fact riddled with holes.
To keep the Council on track, the Local Lib Dems and I have been asking local residents to identify the most dangerous holes, so that we can pass on the information. We’ve asked residents via emails, via my 2013 annual survey and on the doorstop.
We are part way through collating the results, and already we have identified almost 400 potholes on 173 roads across the Borough. We will continue to put the results together and send a full list to the Council for their attention. I hope they will finally take this seriously and do some proper repairs!
Any local resident who wants to add information can contact me here.