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Forum bid to improve road user satisfaction
FRESH attempts are being made to find out why people in Worcestershire are so unhappy with the county’s roads.
Highway chiefs at Worcestershire County Council say they are still perplexed as to why so many people have criticised the road network and claim that the situation is improving.
During a debate at County Hall, Lib Dem group leader Councillor Liz Tucker even suggested that people’s general grumpiness about the economy could be a factor.
Now researchers at the council say they want to establish a new forum – which volunteers can sit on – to point out bad roads and suggest ways forward.
It follows a survey, first revealed by your Worcester News in July, which showed overall satisfaction with the county roads has plunged seven per cent in a year, falling to just 35 per cent.
The new forum is an attempt to try and restore public confidence in the network and get a better result next year.
David Onions, who works in the research and intelligence unit, said: “We are trying to do this in the most objective way possible.
“We want more views to come forward on the roads, good or bad, so we can try and understand where we can go from here.
“Are we looking for volunteers? Absolutely, we want to engage people and want them to report things to us, even if we accept that we don’t always get it right.”
Politicians speaking at the meeting said attacks on people’s standards of living might account for the poor satisfaction with the roads.
The damning public verdict came despite massive efforts to improve road surfaces last year with County Hall saying in-house inspections had flagged up less defects and a better overall network.
Coun Tucker said: “I would assume a correlation of eroding trust in a local authority, the economy and people’s general grumpiness all make a huge difference in someone’s perceptions of the roads.”
During the debate, research was highlighted showing Leicestershire has the highest satisfaction rate among all UK counties for roads – but there the figure is only 47 per cent.
Among towns and cities, Portsmouth tops the pile, but that figure is just 58 per cent.
Coun John Smith, the cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “If I was a private company I’d want a satisfaction rate of 75 per cent – no county can be happy with these figures.” For more details about the road forum scheme, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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