Employment freeze to protect council jobs blamed for state of roads in Wales

Roads and pavements are deteriorating due to a recruitment freeze aimed at protecting council employees’ jobs, councillors have been told.

Denbighshire council is facing a £20-£26m black hole next year and a £3.3m shortfall in the current financial year, reports Nation Cymru.

At a cabinet meeting at the council’s Ruthin County Hall HQ, council officers were questioned by councillors on the state of Denbighshire’s roads and pavements when discussing the corporate plan and performance update.

Councillor Hugh Irving complained about the state of the roads in Prestatyn, before highways officer Tony Ward explained council vacancies for jobs working on the roads were being left unfilled.

Mr Ward said this was in case other council staff needed relocating in future to pre-empt jobs cuts.

He said: “A lot of vacancies have been held currently, partly because of the financial situation and also partly to try and ensure we have some vacancies available should we need to redeploy staff from other areas over the next six to 12 months. Obviously that’s having an impact to some extent on service delivery.” 

Councillor Irving said: “It is disappointing to note that there is still a red warning, if I can use that term, a red flag against the repairs of pavements and roads.”

He added: “I know in my own ward there is quite a lot of work that needs doing. And it is just disappointing that we are not able to make more of an impact on those essential repairs that are actually needed on a lot of our urban roads and pavements.”

Councillor Irving stressed the importance of showing the public that they are trying to get some of the work done as it is a subject that comes up repeatedly with residents, said the Nation Cymru report.

Quoting complaints, he said: “‘Look at the pothole outside my house. Look at the pothole on that Junction. Look at the state of that pavement,’ and that is one of the public perceptions of Denbighshire County Council.”

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