'Highways contractors must go' say independent councillors
Two Wiltshire councillors have called for a vote of no confidence in the county’s highways contractors, after receiving “a flood of complaints”.
Trowbridge Grove representative Jeff Osborn and Melksham Without North’s Terry Chivers, who both sit as independents, have called for the council to scrap the five-year deal with Balfour Beatty Living Places which it signed in 2012.
They also called for cabinet member for highways John Thomson, and councillor Philip Whitehead, who oversees the contract to stand down.
The firm has attracted criticism over its handling of grass cutting in the county, but was deemed satisfactory by an internal review by the Council’s scrutiny committee in January.
The motion reads: “Given that the performance of, and the public dissatisfaction with, the Balfour Beatty Living Places grass cutting contract is now actually far worse than it was last year and is further deteriorating, this Council registers its no confidence in those responsible for this contract.”
Cllr Osborn said: “Enough is enough; I have lost count of the number of complaints that I have received regarding grass cutting, I’m getting phone calls, emails and I can’t set foot outside my front door without yet another complaint. And rightly so.
“We have received assurances from BBLP but they are worthless. It’s all very well Council cabinet members, Thompson and Whitehead saying they are sorting the problem, but they aren’t, and in the meantime frontline Councillors are taking the flak.”
Cllr Chivers said: “BBLP along with Cabinet members Thompson and Whitehead must go.
“It’s not only grass cutting, bins are going un-emptied, and potholes are going un-filled.
“I don’t want to hear any more promises, they mean nothing, I wouldn’t trust BBLPs to dig my back garden and cut my lawn.
“I have had grass over four feet tall in my ward, and I still have areas of grass not cut. When the work is done the standard is very bad.”
The next full Wiltshire Council meeting will take place on July 29.