Tories are slammed for four years of road contract pain

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Roads chiefs at Hertfordshire County Council have been accused of papering over the potholes by local Lib Dems.

Highways contractor Ringway has been under fire over responding to reports of things like potholes, since it took over the lucrative work four years ago.

Now Hertfordshire County Council and Ringway have agreed to improve the way they work. Last year Ringway accepted financial penalties for areas where it was not meeting targets. Its performance has improved year after year, the council says.

But the Lib Dem opposition has blasted the Conservative-run council for accepting four years’ worth of bad service with signs of serious failures even now.

Councillor Stephen Giles Medhurst, leader of the Lib Dem group on Herts County Council said: “It’s taken four years to get the commercial contract with Ringway, which costs the council taxpayers £40m a year, to a state that the Conservatives think is now ok.

“The officer report to the Highways Panel said that, “Ringway is now generally delivering what is required of it under the contract scope and specification”.’

“Surely this should have been happening for four years? Would any ordinary resident put up with four years of bad service from their mobile phone supplier and not go elsewhere?”

Mr Giles Medhurst called on the council to consider ending the highways contract and running the work itself.

But Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The revised model means the county council is more closely involved in operations and will continue to introduce improvements to the level of service.

“We have seen significant improvements recently and Ringway still have a strong incentive to meet the standards we require.”