Unadopted roads causing problems for St Albans residents

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010

HUNDREDS of local residents are living in unadopted roads and receiving only minimal services even though they pay full council tax. The extent of the problem came to light at last week s full meeting of St Albans council s cabinet where councillors voice

HUNDREDS of local residents are living in unadopted roads and receiving only minimal services even though they pay full council tax.

The extent of the problem came to light at last week's full meeting of St Albans council's cabinet where councillors voiced their concerns at the plight of people living in unadopted roads.

The situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of HIPs - Housing Information Packs - which means that when people in unadopted roads try to sell their properties, they find it particularly difficult to find buyers.

The county council is responsible for the adoption of roads but so problematical is it that individual St Albans councillors have tried to get roads adopted in their wards but with little success.

Recently Cllr Tony Swendell, who represents Redbourn, spoke in the Herts Advertiser about his frustration at the lengthly adoption process for Silk Mill Road and Mulberry Place in the village.

The problem does not just lie with private housing developments but also with some roads built by housing associations.

Planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, commented at cabinet: "Developers build these estates and then walk away. Then the development may be purchased by another building firm as has happened at Wynches Farm."

And Labour group leader, Cllr Roma Mills added: "I have been raising the issue of Goldsmiths Way and Falmouth Court. The roads have been there for about 10 years now but the developer is simply not responding.

"Artisan Crescent and Oysterfields are in the same position. There has to be some engagement with Herts Highways to make things happen."

Although residents of unadopted roads get refuse and recycling collected, they do not get street lighting repairs, street cleaning and drainage services and have to resolve their own sewage problems.

Cabinet agreed to ask for a report into the issue to their December meeting, looking at why the county council has such a backlog and what can be done to improve the situation.

A spokesperson for the county council explained that landowners or developers could apply to have new roads adopted by the council but prospective applicants had to keep the roads and services up to scratch before they could be handed over to be maintained at public expense.

He went on: "The county council requires appropriate financial security to be in place under every legal agreement it enters into relating to the adoption of roads, which can include a Bond.

"Where it is necessary and appropriate to do so, the county council will consider using any such financial security to accelerate the process and/or ensure that roads are adopted at the earliest opportunity.

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