#Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 19th April 2017

With the state of the roads and parking in Crawley, it’s unsurprising that when we discuss West Sussex County Council and Highways the focus is on the impact of the Conservatives’ cuts on the growing numbers of potholes, uneven pavements and their unwillingness to take responsibility, as the Highways Authority, for our local parking problems.

However, West Sussex Highways have responsibility for a wide array of other local transport and environmental issues and over recent years Crawley’s Labour councillors have worked hard to hold the county council to account for these services. Having served the town for many years as a local bus driver and inspector it has been an area of particular interest for me.

For instance, take concessionary travel. At past county meetings I have challenged the time restrictions the council has put in place on pensioner bus passes. I have also opposed the ending of the 3 in 1 card scheme which will leave young people and their families significantly worse off when it comes to travel.

Another area of responsibility is maintaining the transport infrastructure, be it the disrepair road signs are allowed to fall into or flooding. For all the talk of money invested in tackling flooding, without maintaining the existing drainage systems all the expenditure in the world on gullys won’t stop the problem.

Clearly there is only so much money avaliable to go around to maintain all these services, but that is why it’s essential the money already in the system is spent wisely.

Labour councillors believe that we should review the county’s outsourcing of road and pavement maintenance to private providers, where serious questions have been raised as to whether money has been misspent, ensuring residents are getting the best value from the service for their council taxes.

We will work to find the revenue to restore lost concessionary travel arrangements for our senior citizens and young people.

Importantly, we will also review where money is spent in the county to ensure that Crawley gets its fair share of local services and investment. Enough is enough, Crawley Labour will put Crawley first.

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