Brightling’s roads – liaison meeting

On 5th December 2017, a group of parish councillors met with Ian Johnson (a manager at East Sussex Highways team) and Sean Homewood, the roads steward for our area.  It was not strictly speaking a public meeting but we did manage to sneak a couple of parishioners into the meeting (seriously, I cannot see any possible reason why these meetings need to be private). 

This meeting was part of a process called, rather grandly, Strengthening Local Relationships (if you didn’t know that Strengthening Local Relationships was about roads, what would you think it was about?) and we have agreed to meet twice a year.  There is a process for reporting road problems (see https://brightling.community/village-matters/problems-nuisances-potholes/ ); on the whole problems reported in this way do get dealt with and this should always be the first port of call if you are aware of a problem. 

However there is nothing like the occasional face-to-face meeting, and we gave them a list of issues to do with drains, verges, ditches and road markings, which we will follow up.  Due to Compulsory Competitive Tendering (outsourcing of council contracts to the private sector) there is a sometimes complicated chain of responsibilities. 

For example, regular gully cleaning is the responsibility of one team, but their apparatus can only deal with blockages at or near the gulley, and if the problem is within a culvert somewhere under the road, then a different team, with different apparatus, has to be called in.  As is only to be expected, this chain of responsibility occasionally does not work as it should. 

We also had some input from parishioners which we raised with the highways team and this will be the subject of further discussion.