A BABY born in Basildon on the same day a damaged pavement is reported to Essex Council could be a great-great-grandparent by the time it gets fixed, new figures have revealed.
Figures released to a local county councillor show that at the current rate of spending, it will take more than 76 years for all of Basildon’s reported pavement defects to be repaired – and that is assuming the cost of repairs doesn’t rise in the interim.
The data was sent by County Hall to independent councillor Kerry Smith when he chased up residents’ complaints about pavement damage in Samuel Road, Langdon Hills.
Essex Council wrote back to say there were currently 2,875 pavement defects reported in Basildon, of which the problems in Samuel Road were ranked 1,992nd in terms of urgency.
County Hall said the total cost of fixing all Basildon’s pavement problems was an estimated £63million, of which it would have to spend £55million before it even got around to Samuel Road.
The current annual budget for Basildon pavement repairs is £828,000.
Cllr Smith said: “If you live in Basildon, it could take less time to build a satellite, launch it, send it to Pluto, bring it back and land it again, than it would to get County Hall to fix your pavement.
“These figures mean County Hall will never get on top of this problem at its current rate of spending. By the time all the current problems have been repaired in 76 years’ time, a load more will have appeared.
“I don’t think the public realises – because I didn’t, until I got these figures – that County Hall was spending such a measly sum of money on pavement repairs. These defects cost us all.
“If somebody trips, that costs the NHS money. If they end up having time off work, that costs their employer money. Yet County Hall is spending chicken change.
“A few weeks ago Essex Council revealed it was spending almost £411,000 per year on private health care for its senior officers. That’s almost half of what it spends in a year on repairing pavements in the whole of Basildon – one of the biggest local authorities in the county.”
Essex Council declined to comment on Cllr Smith’s call to up spending, but said: “We have a strong track record of investing in roads and pavements and this will continue into 2017/18.
“It is not as simple as merely repairing potholes. We have given a long-term commitment to resurfacing roads and pavements to ensure they stay in good condition for longer.”