I was disappointed to read in the Suffolk Free Press this week about the issues that a resident in my Division has been having with the Highways Department at Suffolk County council.
The disappointment lay not so much in the issues described, although service failure is always to be regretted, but in the fact that the resident did not think to raise the issue with me, his County Councillor, before complaining to the newspapers. (Actually it would have been quite good if the newspaper had contacted me for a comment too).
One of the main parts of a County Councillor’s role is to take up residents’ problems, and, without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I have over the past four years been assiduous in raising all reasonable complaints with County Council officers or referring people on to other agencies as appropriate. On the whole I have had a good success rate in resolving local issues, although it has to be said that no one can have a 100 percent record.
Failure to resolve an issue has usually been because of the financial constraints that the council has suffered over the past 4 years as central government cuts have had an impact on the speed at which officers can respond. There are also situations in which one would like to help, but for legal or other reasons it does not prove possible. In the case of highways matters it must be added that demand for work on our roads is infinite and officers have to prioritise their work load to deal with the busiest routes and the gravest problems first. This can sometimes lead to what seems to be excessive delay.
Returning to the case in point, I spoke to the resident concerned yesterday and, since I have less than a week to go as a County Councillor, I have agreed with him that I will pass information about his problem to my successor, whoever that may be. I am sure that he will take the matter up, and is likely to be able to resolve it.
Do remember that if you are having problems with the County Council, the first port of call should be your County Councillor. The contact details of all new and re-elected councillors will be up on the County Council website shortly after the election on Thursday.