Belchford man calls in MPover re-surfacing '˜lottery'

A Belchford man is reporting Lincolnshire County Council to his MP and the Local Government Ombudsman after waging a 13-month fight over the '˜lottery' of local road repairs.

Main Road in Belchford where  water-filled pot-holes are often a hidden danger to  drivers.
Main Road in Belchford where water-filled pot-holes are often a hidden danger to drivers.

Robert MacCormack, of Narrow Lane, initially approached the County Council in December 2015 to complain about Main Road in Belchford.

He told the council the road was not wide enough to cope with the increasing amount of traffic, including lorries and farm vehicles, and said the road was also used as a rat-run by drivers who want to avoid hold-ups in Horncastle.

Mr MacCormack claims the extra traffic means the already poor state of the road has deteriorated, with dangerous pot-holes adding to the hazards for drivers.

He says villagers have witnessed contractors repairing pot-holes by ‘scattering a bit of tar’ in them and then flattening the surface with a shovel, or by reversing their lorry.

Mr MacCormack repeatedly called for the council to inspect the road and carry out repairs.

However, he says the council never rang him back even though he made numerous calls. He was eventually told by highways officer Adam Fenwick that because of financial restraints the authority was only repairing A and B roads.

In emails sent to Mr MacCormack, the council did not rule out minor repairs but denied Main Road - which is unclassified - was a safety risk, even though sections have been reduced to single file traffic

Mr MacCormack says he found other unclassified roads in the area were resurfaced - including three no-through routes which carry much less traffic than Main Road.

He again contacted the council in the summer after Bluestone Heath Road, near Belchford, was being re-surfaced and the work meant he could not get his wife to an urgent doctor’s appointment. He said there was no notification of the work and a suitable diversion was not signposted.

As a result, Mr MacCormack stepped up the level of his complaint and was assured by Steve Willis, the council’s chief operating officer, that it would be investigated by an ‘independent person’, in line with the council’s procedure.

A report was prepared by ‘Mr Shah’ only for Mr MacCormack to discover he is employed by the County Council .

Mr MacCormack said: “How can this be independent? If they are economising, why spend money on no through roads? It is a lottery. Have we got to wait for a bad accident? I.”

t’s not just about repairing roads, it’s about wasting public money.”