Contractor ignores calls to tackle shoddy road repairs in St Albans

Colas workers painting white and yellow lines while cars remain parked.

Colas workers painting white and yellow lines while cars remain parked. - Credit: Archant

Residents living on several streets in St Albans which were butchered by county council contractor, Colas, on the hottest day of the year, have been told to “be patient” while the surface settles.

Residents were left appalled in July when resurfacing crews began pouring a “ghastly black sludge” over several streets in the city’s conservation area which, in some cases, covered 100-year-old cobbles.

Following the shoddy job in July, a spokesperson from Herts county council said: “Where work is found to not meet the high standards we expect, we will ask the contractor to put things right at their own expense.”

But this has not been the case. Earlier this month and without warning, according to residents, contractors began painting white and yellow lines on the roads – leaving gaps where cars were parked.

Puddles have also begun to form in the middle of the roads, highlighting the undulation and unevenness of the streets’ new surface.

James Toms, of Ladysmith Road, said that despite meetings with council officials, Colas representatives and Cllr Roma Mills, he thought Colas were keen to “brush it under the carpet”.

He said: “They badly managed the closing of the road [when painting the lines] and told one resident that we were all trouble-makers.

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“Well, they should be calling us trouble-makers; we just want our road done to a decent standard. We’re tax-payers and we pay for these roads and we have every right to complain when they’re not done properly.”

Batchwood councillor, Roma Mills, said: “It seems to be going nowhere fast. We have had meetings and there doesn’t seem to be the same view [between residents and the contractor] on the quality of the road.

“I would say that 80 per cent of my calls are from people complaining about the highways, but I don’t often have this level of complaints about the same few roads.”

Cllr Mills added that: “If we want the conservation area to continue looking like a conservation area then they should re-do the whole thing.”

A Facebook group set up by residents is being used to share correspondence and put pressure on the council to rectify the work.

One user, commenting on a string of emails between a disgruntled resident and Colas representative, wrote: “Franz Kafka would be proud of this exchange.”

A spokesperson from Herts county council confirmed that the scheme had been signed off and added: “There is now a 12-month period where the work is monitored for defects, with any repairs carried out at the contractor’s expense.

“We’d like to remind residents that the surface will have a rough appearance to start with and there will be some loose stones.

“We ask for residents to be patient, as Ladysmith Road, Kimberley Road and Folly Avenue are quiet roads without much traffic, and assure them that once the surface has bedded in the new micro asphalt surface will look like any other carriageway.”