The article went on to highlight the problem of unadopted roads and streets in Sunderland. These are roads for which local councils have no legal duty to maintain and, having limited resources, generally refuse to do so. If local residents want these roads adopted and maintained by their council, local authorities have usually required residents to pay for the necessary improvements before they will take responsibility for their maintenance.This is underlined by the 1980 Highways Act which makes local residents the "street managers" of their orphan highways. The cost of doing this is prohibitive for local residents and therefore it simply does not happen. Nationally the Government has estimated that the cost of bringing all unadopted roads to the required standard would be £3 billion.
In Liverpool in 2005 the then Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member brought a report to the Regeneration Select Committee which, the Liverpool Echo reported, revealed that, because of the costs involved, " hundreds of miles of streets and roadways in Liverpool may never be repaired" and that 120 streets legally designated as unadopted "could never be free of potholes and cracks."
|Ullet Road entrance to Sefton Park|
The problem is exacerbated by some of the roads around the park having become being an integral part of the road network. Aigburth Drive in particular carries thousands of cars per day taking traffic to the city centre eventually via Princes Road. In more gentle times the gentry would have accessed the park in their carriages via the gates to the park and slowly perambulated round the beautiful countryside in the heart of the city. Nowadays heavy traffic and ruinous winters combine to destroy the road surface and together with their unadopted status leave the local authority with an immense headache.
But was the cabinet member in 2005 correct? Were officers who said nothing could be done being realistic or were both lacking in imagination. I believe every problem has a solution- the difficulty is often having the imagination to work out the solution, the ability to "sell" the solution and the determination to see it through.
I believe we now have an opportunity to deliver a solution to the conundrum. It will require politicians, officers and , indeed, the citizens of Liverpool to think in a different way and consider the alternatives of both doing something and, even more, failing to act.
|Workmen repairing the worst sections of Croxteth Drive last weekend|
This is not the full or final solution to the problem of unadopted roads around Sefton Park. The pot holes will reappear as the level of traffic and further ravages of subsequent winters take effect. A more complete solution is called for. It is that solution that the council will consider over the coming month and which will be further reported on in Regeneration Matters. Somehow we have to get round the limitations of the Highways Act 1980, the lack of resources available to deal with the problem and the historic lack of imagination displayed by politicians and officers alike. I believe a solution is within reach. Will we be able to grasp it?