‘Rambling excuses’ make clear IWC leadership has no intention of holding Island Roads to account, says Cllr Brodie

The councillor for Newport East said, “Cllrs Stewart and Ward may be having regular tea and biscuits with the Island Roads management, but they are clearly letting them off the hook”

dave stewart

The Conservative leader of the Isle of Wight council has come under further criticism from an opposition councillor for ‘rambling excuses’ over what is being described as a lack of accountability over the highways PFI contract.

At Wednesday’s Isle of Wight full council meeting, the Independent Labour councillor for Newport East, Geoff Brodie, asked Cllr Dave Stewart, why he was, “allowing Island Roads off the hook of delivering on the original promises to Islanders, made during a previous Conservative administration, to resurface all of the highway network during the seven-year core investment period?”

Stewart: Not to upgrade every single road
Cllr Stewart replied,

“The scope of the Highways PFI — and the effects of the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2010 — were outlined in a public document called the ‘Final Business Case’ which was presented to all members prior to votes by Cabinet and Full Council in 2012.

“The papers make it clear that the scope of the PFI project covers the full 25 year period (seven year Core Investment Period (CIP) with the remaining 18 years maintenance), and the contract requires Island Roads to bring the network up to an agreed average standard — not to upgrade every single road.

“Roads that meet the agreed standard will not require improvement during the CIP and to upgrade these when there is no need would not only be wasteful but would cause unnecessary inconvenience to road users and residents.

“Therefore the actual length of the network treated during the CIP will be whatever is necessary for Island Roads to fulfil its contractual commitments. By the end of the CIP, it is estimated 523 kilometres — including nearly 90 per cent of main roads — will have been upgraded.

“The council meet with Island Roads monthly to monitor the delivery of the contract.

“In the 18 years after the CIP, it will be necessary to continue to upgrade roads in order to maintain the overall condition to the agreed average standard.

“The level of highway improvement activity will therefore continue to be significant, albeit not as intense as during the CIP.

“It should also be remembered that upgrading the network is not simply about improving the road quality — as important as that is.

“The contract also required the upgrade and maintenance of street furniture, signage, bollards, road markings, roadside seating, hundreds of bridges, retaining walls and culverts, 79 sites of traffic signals, bus shelters and roadside planters, and grass cutting.

“The entire street lighting network has also seen all streetlamps replaced with over 12,000 energy-efficient LED models that reduce light pollution and provide significant savings in energy cost to the council.

“While there is still more work to do, the progress so far in transforming the network from one of the worst in the country to one of the best has already been recognised and without the PFI funding and contract this would not have been possible.”

Brodie: “No intention of holding Island Roads to account”
After the meeting Cllr Brodie told OnTheWight,

“It is clear from these rambling excuses that this Council leadership has no intention of holding Island Roads to account for their failure to deliver on the Core Investment Programme.

“Promises were made by Island Roads and the then IW Council to Islanders that every road would be upgraded in the first seven years of the contract. Reports to Cabinet just before the contract was agreed said that. I even have presentations that were made to public meetings in the weeks beforehand saying that.

“Cllrs Stewart and Ward may be having regular tea and biscuits with the Island Roads management, but they are clearly letting them off the hook.

“If you live in my town or other towns, or indeed the ward I represent, there are many roads that are very far from the ‘best’, or even the ‘average’, even in the looking glass world of this contract.”

Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh

Saturday, 21st September, 2019 10:39am

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14 Comments on "‘Rambling excuses’ make clear IWC leadership has no intention of holding Island Roads to account, says Cllr Brodie"

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kennie
Island Roads standard of work is quite frankly abysmal. I havn’t come accross a road that they have done which hasn’t got dips and humps along it (West Street in Ryde is a good example). Plus there dosn’t seem to be a logical pattern in which roads they are doing. Monkton and Benett Street in Ryde are in desperate need of repair but yet Blackgang Old Road… Read more »
blues26

Island roads are a complete joke, couldn’t manage a corner shop

eddo

One great line used by Jay the person still employed on contract work was ” No curb will be left unturned” what a crock of xxxx

Rhos yr Alarch
Manifold issues with lighting part of the PFI. Briefly though…. Dover Street has 24-cell lanterns mounted at 5 metres. For such a wide road which is also a bus route it should have at least 30 led cell laterns on 6 metre columns. Only at the top by the zebra crossing are these used. However, on busy side roads where 30 cell lanterns are used they are… Read more »
kennie

So what happens if a pedestrian gets run over while the ‘wrong type’ of street lights are present? Presumably the council are aware how poor they are in Dover Street?

Benny C
Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure Ian Ward has admitted on record that he hadn’t read the papers supporting the Island Roads proposal before the Council approved the deal, even though he voted in favour. He subsequently corroborated that when he quoted inaccurately on issues surrounding the contract terms , scope and funding. So, the man charged with accountability for this contract makes clear he doesn’t really… Read more »
jac56
I think we have been lied to over and over by this shambles of a leader. Island roads seem to go for the roads that need it less and leave the worse roads. Monkton street being an example of a road in desperate need of resurfacing. I live in Newnham Road and Island Roads made a cock up of the drain cover near my house so that… Read more »
Rhos yr Alarch
Unfortunately there are multiple roads with multiple lighting issues across the Island. Partly due to the way the contract was set up, simply to replace “like for like” rather than upgrade. In all towns most roads had lighting renewed in the 70s and early 80s with columns closer together. Some got missed though, for example Arthur Street in Ryde. Renewal schemes gradually fizzled out and virtually stopped… Read more »
kennie

What you say all makes sense. BUT these street lights are totally inadequate in a lot of places (as we seem to agree) so the question begs if or when an accident occurs due to a driver being unable to see a pedestrian, who is accountable? More importantly, does anyone have to get seriously injured (or worse) before anything is done about it?

eddo

Cllr Brodie should know that to get an average you need poor and good otherwise it is just mediocre.

Geoff Brodie

That had occurred to me :-)

prof

True, but we seem to have far too many in the former category (“poor”), even after IR have been at them.

I think a more appropriate measure would be “acceptable minimum standard”.

Roads near me are crumbling and breaking up despite having been resurfaced from the foundations up less than 2 years ago.

Benny C
Councillors meeting contractors should make accurate and complete notes of those meetings. They are available under freedom of information. So Councillor Brodie, please ask for them and review for us. I heard a very sensible sounding IR site manager claim to someone in the street a while back that their schedules are sometimes subject to Councillor reprioritisation. He claimed it was disruptive, costing money and output. If… Read more »
Benny C

By the way, loving the photo and the blue rosette. Looks remarkably like first prize in the vegetable section at Chale Show.