Where does Old Town blame lie?

Hemel Hempstead's High Street after roadworks finished
Hemel Hempstead's High Street after roadworks finished

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has stepped up his backing to the fight to hold Old Town contractors to account.

Mr Penning has now written to the chief executive of Herts County Council John Wood, calling on the local authority to investigate its part in the overrun improvement work in the town’s High Street.

The MP, who also acts as disability minister, said: “We all agree that the new-look High Street is a fantastic improvement and the area is now a great place to visit.

“However, getting to this position has been a nightmare for local businesses and business owners rightly feel they have been let down.

“I very much welcome action already taken by the county council against Jackson to achieve recompense for the community, but the county council must also investigate its own management of the contract and at the request of local businesses I have asked the chief executive to carry out a thorough investigation.

“I have made this promise all the way through since the problem started, and there have processes that I have had to follow.”

Cabinet member for highways Terry Douris said: “We do not accept that there was maladministration on the part of Herts County Council in the issuing and management of the contract for the improvement work in the High Street.

“However, we accept that there were some issues with the management of the contract and take very seriously the impact the work has had on local businesses. We always review contracts such as this on completion and look to learn lessons when contracts do not go according to plan.”