Shoddy repair work to roads and pavements in Leighton Buzzard town centre has come under fire with accusations that the area is becoming “dowdy and run down”.
Leighton resident Neil Cairns has provided countless examples of substandard restoration work carried out by utilities companies.
Central Beds Council says new legislation will help the authority enforce higher quality repairs in the near future, but Mr Cairns insists the damage has been done already.
After sending the LBO 14 photos which he took in the space of ten minutes to demonstrate the scale of the problem, Mr Cairns said: “The Leighton Buzzard/Market Square area is now looking very dowdy and run down. All that money was spent some years ago to improve the area, but every company and utility that has since dug it up, just bungs a load of tarmac in the hole.
“This has ruined the brickwork paths and sandstone slab patters which was only cleaned earlier this year.
“Car drivers with poor eyesight hit the bollards, bits of old concrete fill the holes, kerb edges are loose and a danger to the elderly an infirm, large areas of brickwork are very loose and rickety to walk on – and an excellent ammunition store for any Friday night fight.”
He added: “Does Central Beds not inspect these rubbishy, gash repairs? What happens to the bricks they remove? Why not put them back afterwards. Why are CBC not insisting it is restored to its original state after any repairs?”
LBO readers were quick to support Mr Cairns when we posted some of his photos on Facebook this week.
Charlie Bannerman posted a photo of her injured daughter’s knee after she’d fallen over near the market cross. “I will be writing a letter of complaint this week,” she said.
Joe Ryan Gaudoin added: “What do we pay the council an extortionate amount of money for every month!?
Ronald Blue said: “Leighton-Linslade Town Council and our Councillors should be monitoring this and reporting works that require attention.”
Town and Central Beds Councillor Amanda Dodwell said she would be reporting the problems complete with photos to the Central Beds Highways Team.
She said: “I very much agree that some of the road repairs by utility companies are completed to a very low standard, often failing to replace original paving, and simply patching it up with tarmac.
“The town council has no remit for undertaking highways maintenance and does not have the expertise required to inspect and ‘sign off’ on the quality of repairs. However, town council officers and Councillors will report problems that are brought to their attention.”
Town Councillor Mike Bishop added: “Most of these look like utility works. The legislation (made when the Tories were privatising utilities) gives councils inadequate control and needs revising.”
A spokesman for Central Beds Council said: “Anyone wishing to report a problem about roads and pavements can do so quickly and easily online. We will then inspect them and deal with them as quickly as possible.
“To get in touch, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/reportit or call 0300 300 8049.
“Utility companies will be required to reinstate any areas they have dug up with like-for-like materials at the end of a job, with stronger rules around this planned for later in the year.”