Council to investigate impact of roadworks of residents’ lives

ROADWORKS have been the bain of drivers’ lives in Swindon over the past year.

But now, Swindon Borough Council wants to know how it has affected your life, your work or your business.

And the Adver is going to help it find out.

Members of the scrutiny committee are going to carry out an investigation into why some major roads improvement schemes have over-run.

Mead Way is still closed more than a year after work started and changes at the Moonrakers junction, which should have been completed in June, are not finished.

The aim is ‘to have a clear idea of how the council will improve performance and to be able to monitor progress against any action plans the authority may have’.

Some of the fact-finding work will involve talking to other councils to see if the sort of issues Swindon sees are widespread.

But the most important part, according to members of the committee, is to hear from the people of Swindon.

Former deputy leader of the Conservative-run council Russell Holland said: “Some of the questions, like why delays happen, we are given the answer to.

“But there are some questions that keep coming up on the doorstep all the time.

“People ask whether we get our money back from the contractors when the works over-run.

“There is a lot of public angst about this issue, and I think we need to be able to give residents more on this. It’s a universal frustration.”

Coun Holland asked to accelerate the work to be able to bring a report on it by the next committee in September.

But chairman Jim Robbins stuck to the original timetable, which doesn’t yet specify a time for the report.

He said he wanted to use the Adver’s reach to be able to get more responses from the public.

He said: “I’m grateful the Adver has agreed to help us get more responses that we would get hosting something on the council website.

“It’s important to get a clear picture of the impact that over-running work has on people.”

He added: “We want to find out if people have had to change their routine – whether they have to leave earlier for work or on the school run for example, or whether they’ve missed key events or appointments because they’ve been stuck in traffic.

“If people run businesses, we want to find out if profits have been affected – whether fewer customers have been able to get to them, or whether they’ve had to take on fewer jobs because of delays getting around Swindon.”

Coun Robbins said every councillor in the borough had an in-box full of questions and complaints from resident

“It seems like it’s impossible to get anywhere in Swindon at the moment without coming across roadworks causing long delays.

“People are really fed up with it,” he said.

“Our job is to find out why this has happened and the impact it has had and to see what lessons can be learned to try and make sure this can be managed better so it doesn’t happen again.

Adver editor Pete Gavan said: “We’re happy to be able to help find out what people really think about roadworks and how they have been affected by them.

“It’s something we know our readers really care about. 

“If we can help the council get a really accurate picture of the impact over-running projects have had – and more importantly, help it make the changes that mean work is finished quicker and with less disruption – that will be really worth doing.”

If you want to get involved, please email aled.thomas@newsquest.co.uk with your comments on the roadworks around Swindon and and how it’s impacted you, your family or your business or let us know via the reader contributions tool below.

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