No time for a potty policy on pot-holes

Much humour has been generated by the damage caused to roads in Enderby.

In particular, a pothole at the junction of Townsend Road and George Street attracted the comment “Breaking News….. Good news for Enderby! New open air, free for all, swimming pool opens in Enderby today! Well located at the junction of Townsend Road and George Street, get your cosie on and jump on in! Best to leave your car at home….”

Potholes
Photo: Facebook, Keith Johnson, All Things Enderby.

Cost is undoubtedly at the heart of the issues concerning the maintenance of the roads and streets that network within and between centres of suburban or rural communities such as that found with our district of Blaby.

It is easy to feel that Enderby is unique in the extent and degree of damage to our roads but in reality the problem is both widespread and serious and any remedy will require ‘long-term’ and perhaps innovative solutions.

Recent government figures reveal that spending by councils on road maintenance is now at its lowest level in ten years.

Statistics from the Department for Transport show that local authority maintenance spending on B roads, C roads, and unclassified routes was just £1.87bn in 2016-17. This is a significant reduction from the £2.46bn spent in 2004-05.

It is worth mentioning that Leicestershire is the lowest-funded county in the country. The County Council has been calling for fair Central Government Funding for many years. It is also calling for a new system to be introduced when deciding the funding that matches an area’s needs, which (of interest to readers of Enderby EYE) includes the high proportion of roads [in the County] travelled by HGVs.

So, how does a County Council deal with potholes?

All potholes need to be classified, before repairs can be scheduled, so when a member of the public reports a pothole they say they “will ensure an inspector visits and classifies the problem”.

Potholes are generally classified according to how serious they are and that assessment dictates how quickly they are fixed:

Major defects

  • Require prompt attention as they represent an immediate or imminent hazard or a risk of short-term structural deterioration.
  • These defects will be fixed or made safe at the time of inspection, if reasonably practicable.
  • If it’s not possible to fix or make the defect safe at time of inspection, repairs of a temporary, or permanent nature will be done as soon as practicable.

Non ‘major’ defects

  • Require attention, but do not represent an immediate or imminent hazard.
  • These defects have a target repair period of longer duration after being reported by the public or will be included within a planned highways maintenance programme.

Potholes or defects on roads or pavements in Leicestershire can be reported through the County Council’s online form

It will no doubt cost a sizeable amount of money but in order to prevent potholes from re-appearing shortly after an ‘initial’ repair requires material of a high quality and a strategy/methodology of applying ‘permanent’ treatments that prevent damage to the fabric of the pavement or roadway.

The principle of not so much “fixing the roof while the sun shines” but rather “fixing the road while the sun shines” applies.

Potholes often appear after rain or during thaw periods when roads and pavements are weaker. Water penetrates the surface, softening the underlying layers, which increases deflections or eruptions. Constant traffic flow over a damaged area exacerbates the problem and relatively small areas of damage quickly become enlarged.

It is pointless and counter-productive to attempt repair during inclement weather (unless such a distressed area is a major hazard).

Such damage impacts on road safety. Apart from damage to vehicle suspension etc., motorcyclists and cyclists are obliged to swerve to avoid potholes, thus placing themselves and other road users at risk.

The RAC report that drivers contribute more than £45bn in motoring taxation every year: 5p a litre from existing fuel duty over five years would raise £12bn – that’s the estimated one-off cost of fixing our roads.

In order to avoid drifting into becoming a first-world society with third-world highway infrastructure and in order to avoid the risk of litigation, those with the power to shape the budgets of local authorities must drill through the electorate’s humorous coping mechanisms and seriously address the problem caused by quick-fix, band-aid solutions to the maintaining of the County’s roads – both major and minor, which simply don’t hack it.

Bin form opens for ordering

Blaby rebranded waste collection vehicle

The opportunity for residents in the District of Blaby to order larger or additional bins for their household in anticipation of the new alternate weekly bin service is now available.

Giving all residents the chance to order larger or extra bins is part of the plans revealed by Blaby District Council, with the new alternate weekly service set to begin on Monday 2nd July.

Those who would like a larger or additional bin can visit www.blaby.gov.uk/waste2018 to fill in the form.

To have the best chance of getting new bins before the service begins residents are encouraged to order before midnight on Sunday 06 May.

As part of the new service bin capacity will become dependent on household size.

Larger or additional bins over a household’s standard capacity will cost £17.50 per bin, regardless of the type and size of bin.

Delivery of bins is planned to take place throughout May and June.

Residents will be encouraged to sign up to email alerts when filling in the form so they can be notified of when their bin will be delivered to their property.

A dedicated telephone number of 0116 272 7790 has also been set up for those who cannot access the online form.

Those ordering over the phone will have until 4:45pm on Friday 04 May to have the best chance of getting their bins before the new scheme begins.

Blaby District Council’s move to an alternate weekly collection follows the loss of £505,000 in recycling credits from Leicestershire County Council and £240,000 in a central government grant to run weekly recycling collections.
Nearly 9,000 residents responded to a consultation between October-November 2017 to help shape the new service.

For full details on what each household is eligible for, and to order bins before the new service begins, please visit www.blaby.gov.uk/waste2018.

Major BMX event at Huncote Hornets postponed

BMX riders
Photo: britishcycling.co.uk

In what has been described as a “devastating decision”, the Leicester round of the HSBC BMX UK National BMX Series has been postponed.

The surrounding land for camping and parking are underwater and even with the upcoming weather the water levels wouldn’t have dropped enough to hold the sheer amount of vehicles for the event.

Huncote Hornets say the circumstances are completely out of the club’s hands and is a decision from areas beyond their control.

Contingency plans have also been affected and cars can’t just be ‘dotted about’ the village as this would damage any chance of the Club hosting an event in the future.

British Cycling and Huncote Hornets have been working hard to find alternative facilities, however it has unfortunately not been possible.

In the interest of safety, the decision has been made to postpone the event as a last resort.

British Cycling are now seeking to find an alternative date, and will provide an update to BMX fans in due course.

The series itself will continue as planned with rounds five and six in Gravesend, Kent, from 26th-27th May and the organisation apologises for any inconvenience caused by the postponement.

Writing on Facebook about the decision, the Leicester Hornets said “…..a new date will be published ASAP once it has been decided, no time soon ”

They went on to offer apologies and thanks for the understanding being expressed after what they describe as a  “serious amount of work” has been put into organising the event.

 

George Street – Temporary Closure

Leicestershire County Council Highways has agreed to a temporary road
and footway closure on George Street, Enderby.

The closure, planned to commence on the 23rd April and continue until 5th May, is required from the junction with Townsend Road for approximately 90 metres.

The Temporary Traffic Regulation Order is being implemented for public
safety for the Hallam Read contractors to carry out the construction of a
new access and will incorporate a new water supply to be installed by
Severn Trent Water within the same works period.

The proposed alternative diversion route will be via:-
Townsend Road, Alexander Avenue, Mitchell Road, George Street.

During the closure the alternative route for pedestrians will be via: –
Townsend Road, Mill Lane, King Street, Shortridge Lane, and
vice versa.

george street closure plan

Lynda Mann’s family fears that child killer Pitchfork will be released next month

Local media is reporting that double child killer, Colin Pitchfork, will be permanently released from prison following a parole hearing next month, the family of his first victim fears.

Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth
Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth

A report in the Leicester Mercury says that Pitchfork, who was jailed in 1988 for raping and murdering 15yr old Leicestershire schoolgirls Lynda Mann from Narborough and Dawn Ashworth from Enderby, in 1983 and 1986, will go before a behind-closed-doors parole board scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 24.

The board will assess whether it would be safe to release the 56-year-old.

Its ruling will be made public, but no details of the grounds for its decision will be released. Also, it will consider written statements from the families.

Lynda’s sister, Rebecca Eastwood, said her family believes the killer will be cleared for full release as he has made an unknown number of unescorted trips out of custody, including one in Bristol city centre, in the past few months.

This week, the family – who have collected approximately 40,000 signatures on petitions against his release – learned for the first time he has been allowed out overnight on his own.

Rebecca said: “He was allowed out in Bristol city centre without any kind of escort late last year and, we were told this week, he’s been out overnight on his own as well since then.

“So, by the look of it, they have already made their minds up about him.

“I think the decision is pretty much made and he is going to be released after the parole hearing at the end of May.

“We’re told the hearing is on May 24 and then it could be anything up to two weeks before a decision is made.

“We really do think we’ve reached the point where he will be freed.

“As far as we know, he’s going to have a new identity, a new start in life.

“We are still living with the loss and the consequences of what he did to Lynda and Dawn and still believe it is not safe to release this man.”

Last summer, the Ministry of Justice told the girls’ families that Pitchfork had been allowed to leave custody under the close supervision of Prison Service personnel.

A short time later, the ministry notified them that he was deemed ready for unescorted days out.

Pitchfork raped and murdered Lynda in November 1983, leaving her body near the Black Pad footpath, in Narborough.

Full Leicester Mercury item is viewable here