Herts County Council survey criticised over cost

Survey criticised by councillor

AFTER shelling out thousands of pounds for a survey on what residents think of local transport and highway services the county council has been urged to get on with the task of repairing St Albans’ footpaths and potholed roads.

County councillor for St Albans central, Chris White, who is also a member of the Highways Joint Member Panel, has criticised Hertfordshire county council (HCC) for spending �7,500 on the questionnaire.

The survey asks residents 34 questions including how satisfied they are with local bus services, the condition of roads, and how council deals with mud on roads. It also seeks feedback on cycle routes, gritting, the cost of taxis and the provision of bridleways for horse riding and cycling.

Cllr White said: “The county council is spending money on finding out the obvious. If it talked to its councillors more – and read the local papers – it would know the answer to all these questions. Perhaps they should just get on with repairing our potholed roads and pavements.”

The national highways and transport survey (NHTS) is being carried out by Ipsos MORI for several councils across Britain including HCC.

Residents in St Albans were among the 4,500 county-wide selected at random to help council assess how it is performing and which services to prioritise.

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But those wanting to add comments online about local services or find out more about the survey, which has to be returned to Ipsos MORI by July 22, would have had difficulties as the questionnaire referred people to a website which was unavailable. When the Herts Advertiser alerted the research company to the glitch, a spokeswoman confirmed there had been a mistake with the web address but the survey would not be reissued.

A spokesman for HCC said results would help council understand customers’ views and enable comparison with other authorities. He added: “It is also hoped that the survey will identify areas where highway authorities could work together, saving time and money.”