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Resurfacing lane servicing top Shropshire councillor’s home cost more than £80,000

By Andrew Morris | Oswestry | Transport | Published:

It cost more than £80,000 to resurface the lane leading to a top councillor’s home, it can be revealed for the first time.

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

The one-mile Shands Lane in Trefonen, near Oswestry, home to Shropshire Council speaker Vince Hunt, was resurfaced before Christmas last year.

The single track lane, which serves just a handful of homes, was relaid by the council at a cost of £80,006.32 despite not being flagged up as an area of concern by Oswestry Rural Parish Council.

The cost is the equivalent of 57 annual council tax bills for a Band D home.

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And today a letter has been sent by a member of the public to Oswestry Town Council, on which Councillor Hunt also sits, calling on an investigation into the matter.

Councillor Joyce Barrow, who sent an email to Shropshire Council highways bosses entitled ‘Vince Hunt’s Road!’ asking when the work will be done, is currently mayoress.

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Neither councillor has commented on the matter. Oswestry Town Council has been approached for comment.

Shropshire Council was given 10 days to respond to a Freedom of Information request by the Information Commissioner after failing to disclose how much the work cost and how the decision to resurface the lane was reached.

Now Mark Barrow the council’s director of place has revealed the cost – and how the decision was reached, saying a visual inspection was carried out on the lane by highways workers.

Responding to the FOI, which was submitted by Paul Wiseman, leader of the Shropshire Friends group, Mr Barrow said: “The cost of resurfacing this lane was £80,006.32

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“The condition data presented was obtained using a UKPMS-accredited ‘Coarse Visual Inspection’ (CVI) survey method, collected by a UKPMS-accredited survey company and processed using an accredited UKPMS system.

“It is an independent assessment of the condition of this carriageway and is the only type of network condition survey that the council currently uses on the unclassified network.

Complaints

“The condition indices provide a means of interpreting the complex data collected in the CVI survey and thresholds that are nationally accepted have been applied to highlight areas of concern. The defective lengths exceed these thresholds.

“We won’t have an engineering report as such, what is produced is a detailed design for the resurfacing scheme.”

Councillor Barrow’s email to the council’s highways department requesting the work be carried out, said: “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.”

The work lead to complaints from members of the public who said more important roads, used by more motorists were in need of work.

And Sharon Clayton, clerk of Oswestry Rural Parish Council, has said the work was not on a list of concern.

She said: “As far as I am aware the condition of the lane has not been designated by the parish council as a concern for the community.”

The letter sent by Mr Wiseman to Oswestry Town Council, calling for Councillor Hunt and Councillor Barrow to be investigated, says: “The behaviour of Councillors Hunt and Barrow in relation to this matter should be fully investigated by Oswestry Town Council which, if proven, should lead to the resignations of them both.”

Shropshire Council has been asked for further comment.

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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