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‘Vince Hunt’s Road!’ Shropshire councillor in resurfacing row

By Andrew Morris | Oswestry | News | Published:

The country track leading to the home of a senior Shropshire councillor was completely re-surfaced despite claims that more important roads are in a state of disrepair.

Where new road meets old road near Councillor Vince Hunt's home

The one-mile long lane that serves just a handful of homes in Trefonen, near Oswestry, was re-laid just before Christmas last year.

Now residents have criticised the move to spruce up the road leading to Councillor Vince Hunt’s home – after emails were sent from fellow member and Trefonen resident Joyce Barrow to council officers, asking when the work would be carried out.

Vince Hunt is the speaker of the council and former mayor of Oswestry

In the e-mail, sent in July 2017, titled ‘Vince Hunt’s Road!’, fellow Tory Councillor Barrow wrote to Chris Fisher, highways manager, asking: “Vince has asked me to find out when the middle bit of the New Barns/Llansilin Road will be resurfaced as he was promised it would be done some time ago.”

Mr Fisher replied saying: “We’ve been trying to get this patched and dressed, however we have been unable to get Ringway (the council’s then highways contractors) to do any patching for us this year.

“I will submit this as a scheme and keep you and Vince informed.”

Interactive map shows where the road is:

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But by October 2018, the work was given the go ahead, a confirmation email being sent from Nathan Ebanks, a Shropshire Council highways technician, to Councillor Barrow, saying: “The site has been identified via a combination of local engineering judgement and asset management data as being in need of essential maintenance.”

Councillor Hunt, the speaker of Shropshire Council, is also a councillor on Oswestry Town Council and a former mayor of the town, while Councillor Barrow is the wife of former Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow.

'A lovely present'

Paul Wiseman, administrator of Shropshire Friends, a group which says it was set up in a bid to hold councillors and politicians to account, criticised the move to resurface the road, which leads from the edge of Trefonen towards Croesau Bach.

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He said: “Getting Shropshire Council Highways Department to repair our county’s roads is something of a lottery, probably due to ‘council cuts’ and ‘Brexit’ etc.

"Unless of course you live in Trefonen, or ‘Councillor Land’ as it is known by many people.

“What a lovely present for the residents of Vince Hunt Road, Councillor Land and how nice of Shropshire Council to think of them in these trying times.

“Do you think Shropshire Council may give me a similar present this Christmas and fill in the large pothole at the bottom of my drive?”

The resurfaced country lane in Trefonen

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, Mark Barrow, the council’s director of place, added: “Carriageway condition is assessed used (SP) a machine-based survey for classified roads and for minor roads, a coarse visual inspection is used.

"We have a duty to keep the highway network safe for all users – even though some like this serve only a few dwellings.”

Shropshire Council and Councillor Barrow have been approached for comment.

Councillor Hunt declined to comment.

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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