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Cash being wasted on roads research

THOUSANDS of pounds is spent on researching road schemes that have no chance of going ahead, a councillor has said.

THOUSANDS of pounds is spent on researching road schemes that have no chance of going ahead, a councillor has said.

David Jamieson, leader of the Labour group, said that taxpayers’ money was being ploughed into simply preparing reports or investigating petitions.

Speaking at last week’s transport meeting, Coun Jamieson said it was time to “strangle these schemes at birth”.

“There are proposals that just don’t have the support of the majority of the public,” he told the Solihull News.

“Other schemes are very worthy but the council won’t be able to afford them for many years to come.

“And yet thousands will be spent on just compiling reports and making enquiries about the possibilities.”

Coun Jamieson, who was cabinet member for transport until last month, said the wheels were in motion to tackle the problem.

At last week’s meeting, his Conservative successor, Coun Ted Richards, approved a raft of measures to cut bureaucracy.

Local councillors will now be approached far earlier in the process, to get a clearer idea if a scheme is needed and if it has public backing.

It’s hoped that this will allow the local authority to quickly dismiss proposals which are unnecessary or unwanted.

Steps have also been taken to reduce the time spent on bringing a scheme from the drawing board to completion.

A review earlier this year found that a £100,000 scheme, for example, to introduce a pedestrian crossing, involved 291 steps.

This has now been reduced to 91, saving the department £150,000, which will be reinvested in a number of road safety initiatives.

Solihull MP Lorely Burt said: “I welcome the changes, but it does surprise me that there was this amount of bureaucracy in the first place.”

 

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