Cheshire news Little known legal procedure used by man to get road potholes fixed PremierLeague-News.Com

PremierLeague-News.Com - Stephen de la Cour said the 'big' potholes in Audlem proceeded to get 'worse and worse' over winter

Cheshire news Little known legal procedure used by man to get road potholes fixed PremierLeague-News.Com

PremierLeague-News.Com - Stephen de la Cour said the 'big' potholes in Audlem proceeded to get 'worse and worse' over winter

Cheshire news  Little known legal procedure used by man to get road potholes fixed PremierLeague-News.Com
13 May 2021 - 04:00

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A Cheshire man has used a 'rare' legal procedure to force the council to fix potholes in his village. Stephen de la Cour said he first noticed an issue with the roads in Audlem when he moved there in November last year. Mr de la Cour said the 'big' potholes on Cheshire Street proceeded to get 'worse and worse' over winter. Disappointed with what he perceived as a lack of action by Cheshire East Council, Stephen decided to use the Section 56 procedure. The Section 56 procedure allows someone to issue a notice under the Highways Act 1980 that a road or 'way' is defective. This gives the council one month to admit that they are responsible for maintaining the road, and that the road should be maintained at public expense. Speaking with CheshireLive, Mr de la Cour said: "I moved to Audlem in late November 2020. "I was living in cities before, so you just sort of get used to the potholes, but I came to Audlem and they were a bit more noticeable because you're using the same roads everyday. "I'd started reporting it on the Cheshire East Council website using an online web form over winter. Some of these were big potholes on the main roads, they weren't small. Stephen said that over winter the potholes started getting 'worse and worse' (Image: Stephen de la Cour) "The council just sent automated emails back saying it will be dealt with in line with their priorities, they didn't give any estimates or anything like that. "Then, all of a sudden, over winter they started getting worse and worse, so I sent the forms back in again and nothing happened until a point where some of them started to get a bit silly." Mr de la Cour said the council did come out to repair some of the potholes, but left others. He said: "The council came out to some of them, looked at them and repaired maybe two or three but then left the other ones next to them which were equally as big. "It just got worse and in the local area, people were always saying they're not getting listened to either. "So I did a bit of research online, and I found the Section 56 procedure towards the back end of March. I mean, some of these potholes had been there for months at this point. "I filled in the forms, hand delivered it to the Highways Depot and then a month later they've accepted liability and fixed them." Mr de la Cour outlined the Section 56 procedure, and the legal process. He said: "If you fill in the council's web form online, that puts everything in their own control. "When you report it, you're simply just reporting a fault. You're not saying you want it fixed in this timeline. "But the Section 56 procedure is a statutory procedure. "By law, it says that the council has to respond within one month, and if the council doesn't respond within one month, you can either go to the Crown Court and force the council to respond, or if the council have responded within the month and they still haven't fixed the problem, you can go to the Magistrates Court and you can obtain an order from the court to get them to fix it. "If they still don't do it at that point, the Magistrates actually allows permission to any person to fix the road themselves and bill the council back for the amount you've had to pay fixing it. "To me, the council really dislikes the Section 56 procedure because it puts them onto a statutory timescale and if they don't comply with it and the road is defective, there's no choice but to repair it. So they may as well fix it as soon as they get a Section 56.

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. He said "It felt good. Audlem is a small community, and little issues like that make a difference to people. One of the potholes (Image: Stephen de la Cour) "It's disappointing, the cost to Cheshire East of having to go through that, they had to get their solicitors involved and all sorts, it's frustrating that if they just fixed the potholes and defective road and subsidence in the first place using the online forms they wouldn't have incurred the additional costs. "So it's cost them more in the long run by delaying it. There's a frustration there. "Once they'd fixed it, I did think well, at the end of the day, if the council had done what they should've done they wouldn't have incurred the cost, the road is now fixed, it was on a junction as well, so it was fairly dangerous in any event. "I was just quite glad really that the council took action on it, but obviously disappointed that I had to basically force them to using a legal procedure." Cheshire East Council responded by saying the repairs in the first instance did not reach the 'repairs criteria' under the code of practice, with bad weather then causing the road surfaces to 'deteriorate further.' They also pointed out that, this year, their highway maintenance funding from central government has been cut by 23 per cent from last year, meaning they have to focus on 'key routes only' this year. The council said that all roads are regularly inspected as part of a 'robust scheduled safety inspection regime' and in response to 'enquiries'. They also asked residents to report via the 'official channels' and that legal action is 'expensive for all parties' and 'depletes council resources to deliver services'. A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: "We inspected this road in November 2020, and it did not reach the repairs criteria under the code of practice. However, the winter weather pattern of freezing temperatures and frosts, mixed with heavy rain, snow and ice does impact on road surfaces and caused this section of road to deteriorate further. "It was assessed again on 11 March and all defects that met the repairs criteria were repaired shortly afterwards. "An additional inspection was carried out on 21 April and repairs were completed to potholes and a broken manhole cover shortly after that. "This year, our highway maintenance funding from central government has been cut by 23 per cent from last year. The grant reduction has meant that we will be focusing on key routes only this year. "Larger-scale resurfacing works will concentrate on roads with the greatest usage and those with the greatest risk, to enable the money to be used in the most effective way. All roads on the network are regularly inspected as part of a robust scheduled safety inspection regime and in response to enquiries. "We work hard to deal with the increasing number of road defects and we endeavour to ensure that our network remains safe. To report any road defects, including potholes, visit: www.cheshireeasthighways.org/report-it-general.aspx or call 0300 123 5020. "Reporting via our official channels ensures that reports are dealt with efficiently, while obtaining the best value for the taxpayer, with more of their money going into the network and services. Legal action is expensive for all parties – and only depletes council resources to deliver services." Top stories from the CheshireLive newsletter Here are the latest stories from the CheshireLive newsletter Cheshire hotel is most romantic in the UK - and fourth in the world Banned driver pretended to be his twin when he was pulled over Update on future of iconic Browns of Chester Social worker posted 'racially insensitive' comments on Facebook All the things you still can't do after May 17 Want to sign up to receive these stories straight to your inbox? It's free and means you'll never miss the most important Cheshire news of the day You can sign up here Not signed up but want to try it out? You can read a preview of today's newsletter here

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