County Council Leader speaks out about un-adopted roads

By Mick Scrimshaw on June 15, 2017

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For several years I have been fighting for local residents of Poppyfields who live on a development where the roads have not yet been adopted by the County Council. The roads are therefore effectively private property and not public highway. This has caused all sorts of problems with issues about parking, and in particular about the road condition. The original developer didn’t even finish the roads to an acceptable standard in the first place.

Now, years later the roads are deteriorating and need major work but there is nobody to pay for it. When the Environment Scrutiny Committee at County Hall set up a working party to look at the thousand plus roads in Northamptonshire that are not adopted last year, I managed to get myself a place on it even though I am not a member of that Committee.

So far it’s done very little and not moved any closer to finding a way forward, so it was with interest today that I listened to the Conservative Leader of the Council answer questions about unadopted roads at a full meeting of the County Council. She said that "the Council had no legal or moral obligation to provide the services that other Council Tax payers received [street lighting and road repairs] and the issue was down to the developers and people need to know they have personal responsibility for paths, roads and lighting when they move there". To the specific question of whether people who were in this situation should get a discount on their Council Tax, she said "No, because the council offers so many other services and people made their own decision when they chose to move there".

This does not surprise me as in a previous debate about the County Council turning off the lighting to an estate in Corby built over forty years ago which the County Council had paid for despite the area never having been formally adopted by them, another Conservative Councillor had said "that was the difference between us [Conservative] and them [Labour], we believe people should pay for things themselves". Clearly not caring that people paid their Council Tax thinking that this would cover that in the same way it does for most other residents.

I’m not sure the tenants in the rented properties of Poppyfields will be particularly impressed with today’s statement, and I’m afraid it seems that a solution to their problems looks even less likely.

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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