Since the Adeventure’s of Martin Cook I blogged about here, the Duck Pond Councillor has continued with his adventures. He has decided to do some irrelevant research to make it look like the Conservatives are useless and Labour aren’t. The result of this was a blog post. Here on the Duck Pond Councillor’s blog, the Duck pond Councillor says,
Ipswich Tories have been strongly advocating the use of Suffolk County Councillors Highways Locality Budget (LHB) to get much needed improvements made to our roads and pavements. However, a quick look into some of the facts and figures soon reveals quite what an epic failure it’s been.
But then what he says doesn’t add up.
Out of 75 councillors on Suffolk County Council only three had been able to spend all of their Local Highways Budget by 31 March 2021! A fourth hurriedly put together a list of late commitments to spend what they had left in the 2021-2022 financial year. That left 71 out of 75 councillors, from all parties, handing money back.
In total £2.1m was unspent across Suffolk on 31 March 2021 and even after forward commitments into 2021-2022 were considered there was £1.3m left in the kitty. People will struggle to understand how this could be the case when there is clearly so much work to be done.
Well that £2.1 million would include the money Labour County Councillors gave back. As that is the case, I don’t get the point of mentioning it .
The fact that Suffolk’s Local Highways Budget scheme is dysfunctional shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Tory-run Suffolk County Council fails us on highways projects large and small. From potholes that take six months to repair even after the work has been ordered to large projects like the Ipswich Northern Bypass, abandoned with £1m spent or the scrapped Upper Orwell Crossing (£8m wasted) the signs of failure are everywhere.
Potholes not being reported becuase Labour councillors failing to report them and the six months to repair is nonsense. The Northern bypass was a Conservative proposal which wasn’t pushed by Labour. If Ipswich Labour had encouraged Ipswich residents to submit their views then the result of the consultation may have been different and the NIMBY’s of South Carlford may not have stopped what they were supporting a few months earlier. So the Northern Bypass didn’t go ahead due to lack of support from Ipswich Labour. Then there’s the Orwell Crossing where £8 million was wasted because the project was stopped by then misrepresentative of Ipswich, Alexander Gordon Martin. The Labour council who had supported the Orwell Crossing previously, were so spineless, they did what big Sandy told them to do, so the reason the money was wasted was Ipswich Labour.
He then decides to attack individual Conservative councillors,
Former Tory cabinet members for Highways Mary Evans and Guy McGregor were among those handing money back. They were in good company with former Tory cabinet member for Highways and Thedwastre North councillor, Jane Storey who returned £49,880.18 unspent.
The £49,880.18 unspent in North Thedwastre is nothing compared to the £80,000 unspent in Chantry. in Chantry there are massive potholes in Hawthorn Drive, Marigold Avenue. The outgoing Gainsborough County Councillor for Labour gave £50,000 back with potholes in Morland Road, Shannon Road, Reynolds Road, Romney Road, Hawke Road and Holbrooke Road unfixed. But Martin Cook makes a big deal about North Theswastre. what are the roads like there? Has he been there on his adventures? Obviously the condition of the roads wouldn’t be that bad due to the place having a Conservertive County Councillor who would report them instead of doing nothing before handing the money back like Labour councillors.
The Duck Pond Councillor continues,
Even former Tory Council leaders were not immune, Mark Bee had money left over as did Colin Noble who offered £48,460.53 cashback. The top spot however was reserved for Conservative Councillor Peter Beer (Great Cornard) who returned a whopping £66,825.64, more than any other Councillor.
But what are the roads like in those places? You can’t justify handing money backe to solve a problem due to not solving the problem.
When even experienced, senior county councillors are unable to spend their Local Highways Budget it points to a systemic failure of governance.
It more likely points to senior county councillors being on top of the problem so the area doesn’t look like Kosovo, meaning they don’t need to spend as much.
Rather than blaming individual councillors for the obvious shortcomings of their highway operation perhaps the all-Tory cabinet who run Suffolk County Council should be getting a grip on the situation themselves.
The fact is, Labour have failed Ipswich. Now potholes are getting fixed in Ipswich, the likes of the Duck Pond Councillor would like to put it across that it’s Labour’s doing, but it isn’t.