Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Saturday, 25 April 2009


“Our own roads in Eastern Europe used to be like this,” said the Bulgarian visitor, “but they are much better now!” This devastating comment was reported to me this week by a constituent who knows a thing or two about driving. It is true; the state of our local roads is a matter of embarrassment. I am starting to get a steady trickle of complaints from residents for the first time in sixteen years. I also tend to have my own eyes open as I zip around the area and I have never seen so many potholes, jagged surfaces, cracks, bumps and dips as in the past few months.

It is not just a matter of our personal comfort. For some people, elderly and disabled the battering from uneven road surfaces can deliver real pain. I have heard from cyclists who are concerned about safety, as every hole becomes a potential death trap.

The winter has been a tough one, with frost and heavy rain, but nothing that should not have been expected. I have seen the consequences of the monsoon in India which destroys their road infrastructure every autumn and we have had nothing like that. The chaotic story seems the same all over Devon, whatever the local authority.

When you consider the vast amounts we are all paying in car tax and fuel duty, our road surfaces should be near perfect, despite the hammering they receive. Little wonder that several constituents have been muttering to me recently, asking what on earth all of our taxes are actually spent on!

Why is this happening? Are we in danger of taking our eye off the ball of delivering core services? Never mind the fancy multi coloured road schemes – just give us smooth surfaces. Never mind the cycle lanes that don’t go anywhere – just fill in the potholes. Never mind the expensive speed bumps, just put down some decent tarmac. Perhaps some governmental organisations are trying to do too much when all we need is for them to do the basic things well.

So what is to be done? I intend to write to Devon and Plymouth Councils next week pointing out the worst places and ask them to make the roads surfaces right. I need your assistance. Could you please let me have your favourite “hotspots” and I will add them to the list. You have 7 days to help me seek out and destroy unwanted potholes

posted by Gary @ 17:14