It seems difficulties with roads, drains and the like have come to the fore lately. From the atrocious situation at Anchor Bridge, in Brownhills, where the new, flagship development of Knaves Court is regularly bathed in mud and slurry, to drains blocked on the new Ring Road leading to standing water, it seems our roads, and particularly the drains that lie beneath them, are in a parlous state.
Standing water is an issue that vexes me particularly. It’s presence reduces braking ability, can lead to loss of control, conceals potholes, and leads, through hydraulic action, to the premature breakup of road surfaces. And it also drowns pedestrians.
The Knaves Court situation is a point in case. To howls of derision, Glyn Oliver, senior officer at Walsall Council, has washed the Council’s hands of the problem, blaming it on unnamed ‘Developers’ and Severn Trent for blocking a sewer… but we’re not to worry, as they’re ‘Monitoring’ it. What that means in practice has not been explained. The fact that many folk have pointed out that this flooding happened long before Knaves Court was built seems lost on the Walsall Council, who seem far more concerned about not overstepping their mark rather than rectifying the misery, danger and chaos this lamentable situation causes.
Why this can’t just be fixed, and the bill passed on to whoever is responsible, is beyond me, and apparently, beyond most readers, including one very well clued up one.
Meanwhile, in Lichfield Street, Walsall, a pothole keeps opening up and attempting to digest both me and my bike. This one keeps reoccurring, and I think it’s the fault of South Staffordshire Water, who obviously aren’t effecting a sealed repair. Time to sort it and send them the bill? It’s right in a spot where you’re concentrating on the traffic, not the road surface. It could easily have a moped or motorbike rider off their machine.
Then there’s Brownhills High Street. Passing the Ornamental Lakes of Monitoring mentioned above (thanks to David Evans for finally giving them a name), there’s a fun assortment of potholes, sunken drains and pools of standing water, the nastiest of which is right in the shadow of Morris, the Brownhills Miner. Good job he’s stainless, otherwise he’d match the Walsall Wood Pithead by now.
I don’t know what it is about drains, but Walsall Council – or their contractor, Tarmac – don’t seem to be very keen on cleaning them out. After complaining last week, a gully cleaner was send to Sandhills, Shire Oak, and about half the drains there were restored to use, for which I’m very thankful. On the other hand, the drains on the new Ring Road in Walsall, I complained about on January 24th, Haven’t been touched. I know that the people handling the initial complaint are doing their jobs well, and are fine, conscientious people for whom I have great respect – but the problem seems to stem from actually getting technicians out to do the job.
As a cyclist, I feel the poor quality of the roads probably more than others – but the damage affects everyone. Please, I implore Walsall Council to look at these issues – and others – and to try and find a fix for them. People don’t really care much for small print and shuffling, they want action. If it’s the responsibility of a third party, hassle them. Tell us exactly who it is, so we can hassle them. Perhaps even do the job, and send them the bill.
I know folks at Walsall Council listen and do care – the excellent reaction to the Great Shelfield Daffodil Massacre (in which an old hippy got very distraught about some flowers) proved that. I have immense respect for people doing hard jobs in tough circumstances, I really do. But someone really needs to kick the arse of the contractors involved.
Otherwise, the end result is Walsall Council look uncaring, and I know that not to be the case.