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Call for resignation of Shropshire highways boss over pothole plague

By Aimee Jones | Bridgnorth | Politics | Published:

The Shropshire Lib Dems are calling for the resignation of the councillor responsible for dealing with potholes.

Councillor Roger Evans has put forward a motion to go before full council next week asking for support in calling for the resignation of the cabinet member for highways, Councillor Steve Davenport.

Potholes have plagued the county's roads for a number of years but now the Lib Dems have said Councillor Davenport's department has failed in its duty to fix the roads.

The motion said: "Council notes that during the whole of 2019 councillors have been raising issues about the growing number of potholes and the general failure of Shropshire Highways and its contractors Kier and WSP to deal with these issues.

"When a department fails, it used to be the norm that the political person answerable for that department resigns.

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"Despite many assurances, many from Councillor Davenport himself, the council has felt the need to appoint a consultant to tell them what was going wrong.

"We ask the council to support our call for the resignation of Councillor Steve Davenport from the post of cabinet member responsible for highways."

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The controversy surrounding potholes escalated earlier this month when the authority appointed a highways consultant at a cost of £1,000 a day.

The new position comes amid a number of changes the council is implementing in order to deal with a backlog of 3,500 potholes currently waiting to be repaired, including the use of smaller, local companies to repair the roads.

It means Shropshire Council will spend about £130,000 on the consultant over the six-month contract which started in January and runs until the end of June.

At a time when the cash-strapped council is looking for ways to save millions of pounds to balance the books, the decision has been questioned by residents and some councillors.

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However Councillor Davenport has defended the role, saying it consists of a lot more than just looking at potholes.

The number of teams repairing the roads will be doubled to 40 in coming weeks in order to fix about 500 potholes a day.

This is in addition to a £5m scheme to resurface 26 roads by the end of March.

The motion will be discussed at a meeting at Shirehall, Shrewsbury, on Thursday.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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