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Suffolk's crumbling roads account for more than a third of a county council's complaints

Issues about Suffolk's highways accounted for more than one in three complaints last year a new report has said
Issues about Suffolk's highways accounted for more than one in three complaints last year a new report has said

More than one in three complaints to a county council were about Suffolk's roads, new figures revealed.

Suffolk County Council's audit committee papers showed the authority received 1,154 complaints last year with just half being answered on time.

Complaints about Suffolk Highways reached 413, more than any other area, with issues over social care fieldwork and the social work team generating more than 100 complaints each.

The data showed that 70 per cent of all highways complaints were regarding the quality of service or lack of provision, and just 51 per cent were responded to within the council's 20-day time limit.

Cllr Mary Evans, the county council's cabinet member for highways and transport, said the authority 'took complaints very seriously'.

"As a largely rural county, the vast majority of residents do tend to use our highways and transport infrastructure on a daily basis and the service does divide opinion from time to time." she said.

“Suffolk Highways does a great deal of work across the county every day to keep people moving safely whether that’s on four wheels, two wheels or as a pedestrian."

In May Suffolk Highways said it had learned lessons from the harsh winter which meant its the number of gritting shifts had nearly doubled and had to prioritise repairing hundreds of potholes which impacted on its regular maintenance schedule.

But Labour group leader Cllr Sarah Adams called for a rethink of how Suffolk's roads are maintained.

"The number of complaints is rising and even more worrying is the number of complaints now responded to in time has sky rocketed," she said.

"Only last year Suffolk Highways was re-structured in order to make improvements to the service, earlier this year another review was instigated into why Suffolk Highways was failing, and now this report shows that the organisation is getting worse not better.

"Perhaps it is time to cut our losses and rethink the whole highways delivery model."