A decade of road calls

Stobhill resident David Mash seen with some of the pavements needing repairs on Station Bank , Morpeth.'REF 0402149931
Stobhill resident David Mash seen with some of the pavements needing repairs on Station Bank , Morpeth.'REF 0402149931

A FORMER councillor says he has reached the end of his tether after waiting 10 years for road and footpath repairs.

Fed-up David Mash said he first identified problems in Stobhill in 2004 while serving on the former Castle Morpeth Borough Council.

However, he was told there was no cash available to carry out the work, and he has been waiting for it to be fully addressed ever since.

“This has been going on since I was a district councillor in 2004,” he said.

“Back then, I went around Stobhill and listed all the streets and roads that needed repairing. That was ten years ago and I was just fobbed off when I was told there was no money to do the work. It has been the same story ever since.

“I started off the process again last March when I decided that something had to be done, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”

Mr Mash contacted Northumberland County Council’s highways department, listing several areas where he thought road repairs were needed, including parts of the A196, Shields Road, Jobling Crescent, Eastgate and the Grange estate, as well as footpaths in Station Bank.

Later that month he received a reply from Corporate Director of Local Services Barry Rowland stating that the A196 was scheduled for re-surfacing, repairs would be carried out at Jobling Crescent and Eastgate, and remedial work would be completed in the Grange estate, even though the defects identified would not normally be considered a priority.

Mr Rowland said that Shields Road had been considered for resurfacing, but other roads were a greater priority.

Mr Mash said that ‘patching’ was done in a few areas, but he was still concerned about the overall condition of the streets so in May he met another officer for a walkabout to point out the problems.

He said a number of potholes were repaired about eight weeks later, but he was still not satisfied.

And in September, he contacted the council again, adding Second Avenue, Third Avenue and Lindisfarne Lane to the list.

However, he says little has been done.

“The council has done a lot of work on low priority issues, such as re-surfacing in front of the shops, removing cobbles and replacing a grassed area with concrete, but the pavements have not been done,” he said.

“There has been a little bit of patching, but the A192 is in a dreadful state and at the junction with Shields Road every time it rains there is a pool of water. When I was at Station Road recently there was a person with a wheelchair who went over one of the bad bits and nearly tumbled into the road.”

Mr Mash said he has spent £500 on steering and suspension repairs for his car, but he said he is more concerned about pedestrians.

“We pay the road tax and council tax and fuel tax, but we don’t seem to get much back from it,” he said.

“People are upset when their cars are affected, but cars can be repaired. For elderly people who fall down and injure themselves it could be the end of their lives.”

He added: “Every time I speak to the inspectors they tell me they are aware of the problem, but they don’t control the purse strings.

“They say they can’t do anything because they haven’t got the money, but then lo and behold they have started work on the streets of Morpeth. I think some of those areas are bad, but there are equally bad places in Stobhill.

“It is not good enough.”

Northumberland County Council Policy Board Member for Streetcare and Environment Ian Swithenbank said: “The council is mindful of the problem of the footpaths at Stobhill and is currently carrying out investigations into this matter with a view to carrying out repairs.”