Better job needs to be done on grass-cutting and potholes

First published in News by

A MULTI-MILLION pound contract to maintain Wiltshire’s roads and streets is working well on big jobs but not on grass-cutting and potholes, a report has found.

A special task group of Wiltshire councillors has reported back after conducting a “rapid scrutiny exercise”. This followed complaints about the performance of Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), who took on the contract last year.

Cllr Jeff Osborn, an Independent member who pushed for the inquiry and was one of the six councillors conducting it, said the big jobs were going well but in minor works there was room for improvement.

He said: “This includes grass and hedge cutting, small potholes etc. These are matters that the public is very much concerned with.”

He said it was also clear that the public were not being told what happened after they raised an issue and that must improve. The task group report says better and clearer reporting is needed about BBLP’s contract work and its progress.

It says problems began when at the outset of the contract, six middle managers chose not to transfer to Balfour Beatty Living Places. A backlog of grass-cutting jobs quickly built up and new staff lacked local knowledge.

However, better arrangements have now been put in place to keep councillors up to date on works in their respective patches. Computer technology systems will also improve by the end of the year, the report says.

It adds that council officers’ expectations that “local highways and street scene and IT” would be problem areas, had been borne out by events.

In conclusion, the task group says that work on seven of the eight main areas of the contract is satisfactory, but it will meet again in March to monitor progress.

Comments (19)

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4:38pm Mon 13 Jan 14

hillyanne says...

Be fair.
I rang CLARENCE and the pothole in a Salisbury road was filled 2 days after(and I was given a ref.no.)This has happened every time over the 5 years I've lived here;and when I've reported faulty street lights.Ditto.
Be fair. I rang CLARENCE and the pothole in a Salisbury road was filled 2 days after(and I was given a ref.no.)This has happened every time over the 5 years I've lived here;and when I've reported faulty street lights.Ditto. hillyanne
  • Score: 1

6:30pm Mon 13 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

Cllr Clewer does a good job on pot hole repairs. Old faithful on Southampton road was repaired again at the end of last year when I complained and, it's still as good as new now! He must have used the correct mix of asphalt and the correct method this time, good job! Much better job than the contractors who normally 'repair' the pot holes. I wonder if he does driveways?
Cllr Clewer does a good job on pot hole repairs. Old faithful on Southampton road was repaired again at the end of last year when I complained and, it's still as good as new now! He must have used the correct mix of asphalt and the correct method this time, good job! Much better job than the contractors who normally 'repair' the pot holes. I wonder if he does driveways? karlmarx
  • Score: 9

11:44pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Petera says...

Up here on Bemerton Heath the roads have so many potholes it is like cycling an obstacle course. I watched a Balfour Beatty employee chuck a wheelbarrow full of filler into the biggest of about six holes, leave all the rest,then spend five minutes photographing the work he had not done. It would be funny if it was not so pathetic.
Up here on Bemerton Heath the roads have so many potholes it is like cycling an obstacle course. I watched a Balfour Beatty employee chuck a wheelbarrow full of filler into the biggest of about six holes, leave all the rest,then spend five minutes photographing the work he had not done. It would be funny if it was not so pathetic. Petera
  • Score: 8

3:55am Tue 14 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

Petera wrote:
Up here on Bemerton Heath the roads have so many potholes it is like cycling an obstacle course. I watched a Balfour Beatty employee chuck a wheelbarrow full of filler into the biggest of about six holes, leave all the rest,then spend five minutes photographing the work he had not done. It would be funny if it was not so pathetic.
Absolutely Petera, the roads on the Heath are in a really poor state. To be honest, even pedestrians crossing them are in danger of twisting their ankles or worse. Perhaps the Heath is missing on the maps supplied to the council inspection teams?
Do they ever publish these photographs? Is there a website where we can admire their photographic skills in composition, technical merit, subject matter, originality etc...?
[quote][p][bold]Petera[/bold] wrote: Up here on Bemerton Heath the roads have so many potholes it is like cycling an obstacle course. I watched a Balfour Beatty employee chuck a wheelbarrow full of filler into the biggest of about six holes, leave all the rest,then spend five minutes photographing the work he had not done. It would be funny if it was not so pathetic.[/p][/quote]Absolutely Petera, the roads on the Heath are in a really poor state. To be honest, even pedestrians crossing them are in danger of twisting their ankles or worse. Perhaps the Heath is missing on the maps supplied to the council inspection teams? Do they ever publish these photographs? Is there a website where we can admire their photographic skills in composition, technical merit, subject matter, originality etc...? karlmarx
  • Score: 16

6:34pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Schoolmum999 says...

Brown Street in Salisbury is a death trap. Traffic has to weave to avoid the massive holes and as a scooter rider, I have nearly been knocked off on more than one occasion. I have made at least five reports via the Wiltshire Council online system and nothing gets done!

I also witnessed a very near miss in St Marks Avenue this morning. A young boy was riding his bicycle and a car swerved to avoid a hole and missed him by inches!
Brown Street in Salisbury is a death trap. Traffic has to weave to avoid the massive holes and as a scooter rider, I have nearly been knocked off on more than one occasion. I have made at least five reports via the Wiltshire Council online system and nothing gets done! I also witnessed a very near miss in St Marks Avenue this morning. A young boy was riding his bicycle and a car swerved to avoid a hole and missed him by inches! Schoolmum999
  • Score: 10

6:39pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Schoolmum999 says...

In addition to the safety reason above, which are obviously more important, I also urge people to report all potholes to the council asap, as a colleague of mine suffered damage to her car after hitting a pothole and when she tried to claim for the damage caused, the council said that as they had not been aware of that specific hole, they will not pay.
In addition to the safety reason above, which are obviously more important, I also urge people to report all potholes to the council asap, as a colleague of mine suffered damage to her car after hitting a pothole and when she tried to claim for the damage caused, the council said that as they had not been aware of that specific hole, they will not pay. Schoolmum999
  • Score: 10

6:52pm Tue 14 Jan 14

kenny22 says...

thats what you get when you get councils cutting corners and employing cheap labour so to speak.
thats what you get when you get councils cutting corners and employing cheap labour so to speak. kenny22
  • Score: 8

6:55pm Tue 14 Jan 14

kenny22 says...

take a look at queen alexandra road, pot holes galore.
take a look at queen alexandra road, pot holes galore. kenny22
  • Score: 7

12:38am Wed 15 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

Which beggars the question, 'what are the council inspection teams up to'?
If these roads have been inspected and, no repairs have been done as a consequence then, they must have passed the inspection?
Which beggars the question, 'what are the council inspection teams up to'? If these roads have been inspected and, no repairs have been done as a consequence then, they must have passed the inspection? karlmarx
  • Score: 5

8:41am Wed 15 Jan 14

Mark1967 says...

I've already complained to Wiltshire Council about the state of the A36, especially between Stapleford and South Newton. WC told me it was the responsibility of Skanska to maintain that stretch of road. So I complained to Skanska who, when they finally came back to me three weeks later, told me that the road would be 'hot patched in the coming weeks, weather permitting'. Also, that the road as I had described it would need a 'full resurface, but that's not in their forward programme'. Bear in mind, that was back last November. I think it was even announced in the Journal that the road would be shut at night over the coming weeks to allow a (what I thought would be) series of major repairs and/or resurfacing. I awaited events with interest, and so far I have seen nothing of any practical value done. Maybe a few potholes here and there have been patched. They haven't been repaired properly because what was there has washed away in the recent rains. In fact, the road is worse now than it was in November. So two weeks ago, I emailed the gentleman in question at Skanska again (no reply as yet), and suggested to him that he takes a trip out to view the appalling state of that road for himself. I also took the case to John Glen, the MP for Salisbury. He told me that he was campaigning to get something done and was aware of the problem. I know Mr Glen has raised this in the Salisbury Journal in the past. I further went on to Fix My Street.com and highlighted the problems, at least for the benefit of other road users. They passed my complaints on to Wiltshire Council, who then referred me to Skanska. So I'm back where I started.
I've already complained to Wiltshire Council about the state of the A36, especially between Stapleford and South Newton. WC told me it was the responsibility of Skanska to maintain that stretch of road. So I complained to Skanska who, when they finally came back to me three weeks later, told me that the road would be 'hot patched in the coming weeks, weather permitting'. Also, that the road as I had described it would need a 'full resurface, but that's not in their forward programme'. Bear in mind, that was back last November. I think it was even announced in the Journal that the road would be shut at night over the coming weeks to allow a (what I thought would be) series of major repairs and/or resurfacing. I awaited events with interest, and so far I have seen nothing of any practical value done. Maybe a few potholes here and there have been patched. They haven't been repaired properly because what was there has washed away in the recent rains. In fact, the road is worse now than it was in November. So two weeks ago, I emailed the gentleman in question at Skanska again (no reply as yet), and suggested to him that he takes a trip out to view the appalling state of that road for himself. I also took the case to John Glen, the MP for Salisbury. He told me that he was campaigning to get something done and was aware of the problem. I know Mr Glen has raised this in the Salisbury Journal in the past. I further went on to Fix My Street.com and highlighted the problems, at least for the benefit of other road users. They passed my complaints on to Wiltshire Council, who then referred me to Skanska. So I'm back where I started. Mark1967
  • Score: 6

11:12am Wed 15 Jan 14

gingin says...

All this back and forth just adds to the frustration. Instead of using public money for their huge allowances perhaps that budget could be used elsewhere. Will probably be told it is only for the payment of allowances with some excuse that it contains a clause somewhere but councils do have funds for emergencies. Do they not consider flooding and the state of our roads to be emergencies?

The public are totally hacked off with hearing all the excuses, it's time things improved.
All this back and forth just adds to the frustration. Instead of using public money for their huge allowances perhaps that budget could be used elsewhere. Will probably be told it is only for the payment of allowances with some excuse that it contains a clause somewhere but councils do have funds for emergencies. Do they not consider flooding and the state of our roads to be emergencies? The public are totally hacked off with hearing all the excuses, it's time things improved. gingin
  • Score: 9

1:21pm Wed 15 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

Mark1967

I would hazard a guess that a box has been ticked somewhere next to the words 'issue resolved' now that you have been referred back to where you started.
Mark1967 I would hazard a guess that a box has been ticked somewhere next to the words 'issue resolved' now that you have been referred back to where you started. karlmarx
  • Score: 6

2:02pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Mark1967 says...

Karlmarx......

That conclusion is beginning to dawn on me as well.

It will be only a matter of time before somebody is injured (or worse) on that road, mark my words. I have made that known to WC and Skanska, but my comments have fallen on deaf ears.

Yes, I just love being the 'ball' in a game of email 'ping-pong' between two completely ineffective (or totally uninterested) entities.
Karlmarx...... That conclusion is beginning to dawn on me as well. It will be only a matter of time before somebody is injured (or worse) on that road, mark my words. I have made that known to WC and Skanska, but my comments have fallen on deaf ears. Yes, I just love being the 'ball' in a game of email 'ping-pong' between two completely ineffective (or totally uninterested) entities. Mark1967
  • Score: 4

4:02pm Wed 15 Jan 14

brandx says...

Grass cutting problems seem a long time back now - flooding is the major issue and to be fair Balfour Beatty have put in much valued work on this. But, the consequences of flooding will be a break up on the road surfaces and many, many more pot holes. It is to be hoped that the Balfour Beatty contract is up to dealing with this and that central government provides sufficient funding as Wiltshire Council budget will be squeezed yet again this year.

The reconvening of the Balfour Beatty Scrutiny group in the Spring needs to carefully invesigate all this and not allow itself to get fobbed off.
Grass cutting problems seem a long time back now - flooding is the major issue and to be fair Balfour Beatty have put in much valued work on this. But, the consequences of flooding will be a break up on the road surfaces and many, many more pot holes. It is to be hoped that the Balfour Beatty contract is up to dealing with this and that central government provides sufficient funding as Wiltshire Council budget will be squeezed yet again this year. The reconvening of the Balfour Beatty Scrutiny group in the Spring needs to carefully invesigate all this and not allow itself to get fobbed off. brandx
  • Score: 4

6:29pm Wed 15 Jan 14

wasue says...

On the Stonehenge Est in Amesbury paint marks arrived on the roads last summer outlining repairs. To date the marks have been reprinted but nothing else has happened. The estate now resembles a game of find the road surface!
On the Stonehenge Est in Amesbury paint marks arrived on the roads last summer outlining repairs. To date the marks have been reprinted but nothing else has happened. The estate now resembles a game of find the road surface! wasue
  • Score: 4

1:05pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Grampie says...

I drove along Ashley Road this morning and it is full of potholes. You would think that the Wiltshire Councillor for that area would have something to say.

Those holes would be dangerous for cyclists.
I drove along Ashley Road this morning and it is full of potholes. You would think that the Wiltshire Councillor for that area would have something to say. Those holes would be dangerous for cyclists. Grampie
  • Score: 3

4:59pm Sun 19 Jan 14

molmosts says...

Coronation, Empire , Roman Queen Alexandra ,Ashley Roads etc etc where do you stop naming pot holed if not caverned roads.
It may be at my inconvenience but I won't hesitate in claiming for damaged wheels and tyres .
Come on Wiltshire Council. ,rain and cold weather isn't new is it?
Coronation, Empire , Roman Queen Alexandra ,Ashley Roads etc etc where do you stop naming pot holed if not caverned roads. It may be at my inconvenience but I won't hesitate in claiming for damaged wheels and tyres . Come on Wiltshire Council. ,rain and cold weather isn't new is it? molmosts
  • Score: 3

9:10am Mon 20 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

Has anyone ever seen the council inspecting the road surfaces? The clue is some paint is sprayed around the crater then it is ignored until the paint has worn away. Maybe a photo for the Journal just to show the public that they exist otherwise they may fall into the mystery category like Bigfoot or the Yeti.
Has anyone ever seen the council inspecting the road surfaces? The clue is some paint is sprayed around the crater then it is ignored until the paint has worn away. Maybe a photo for the Journal just to show the public that they exist otherwise they may fall into the mystery category like Bigfoot or the Yeti. karlmarx
  • Score: 2

11:20am Mon 20 Jan 14

Grampie says...

Grampie wrote:
I drove along Ashley Road this morning and it is full of potholes. You would think that the Wiltshire Councillor for that area would have something to say.

Those holes would be dangerous for cyclists.
I think the local councillor has lost his password. he has been very quiet lately.
[quote][p][bold]Grampie[/bold] wrote: I drove along Ashley Road this morning and it is full of potholes. You would think that the Wiltshire Councillor for that area would have something to say. Those holes would be dangerous for cyclists.[/p][/quote]I think the local councillor has lost his password. he has been very quiet lately. Grampie
  • Score: 0

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