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Kent Highways need to get on top of contractors

January 30, 2017 4:25 PM
By Rob Bird
Originally published by Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

The conversion of Kent's streetlights to LEDs appears to be going well and feedback from residents on the new lights has generally been very positive. Streetlight ColumnUnfortunately, Kent Highways continue to be let down by other contractors that fail to do jobs properly and on time.

At last Thursday's County Council meeting Rob Bird put the following question to Matthew Balfour, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport:

'At last October's County Council meeting my colleague, the member for Maidstone North-East, asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport when all the sawn-off streetlight columns would be removed. The Cabinet Member stated that "overdue removal jobs should be completed by the end of December".

'Nonetheless, there are still a number of sawn-off streetlight columns in my division and I am advised there are others elsewhere in the County. Would the Cabinet Member like to revise his earlier answer and give council members a firm date for the removal of all these dangerous eyesores?'

The Cabinet Member provided the following answer:

' Thank you for your enquiry regarding the removal of sawn off street lighting columns in Maidstone. Our contractors had informed us that all outstanding works would be completed by the end of December. They haven't met these timescales and I can only apologise for that.

'I understand that our Street Light LED Project Manager has contacted you and you have given him some specific locations which my officers will chase. We are continuing to investigate the outstanding works and will let you have programme dates when they are available.

In the meantime, if you have any further specific locations then do not hesitate to let my Planned Works Team Leader know.'

Commenting after the meeting, Rob Bird said:

'There should be no excuses; these redundant light columns can be dangerous and have been disfiguring our streets for months.

"KCC says it aims to be an effective commissioner, but time and again we see highways works compromised by poor contract management.'