At last Thursday’s council meeting, highways boss Simon Jones admitted that the performance of the council’s road contractors is not up to scratch. He has only just taken over the transport portfolio, which he held a few years back. He said that dealing with Ringway was like dealing with a company in the first year of the contract, not its third year. He also said that spending £1.1 million on improving the Craven Arms highways depot, which is shared between Shropshire Council and Ringway, was part of the contract with Ringway, though he didn’t sound enthusiastic about the project.

A couple of weeks ago, Ringway made its third attempt at resurfacing Lower Corve Street. The previous two operations were carried out in October – what sort of company conducts a non-urgent resurfacing in October? Tarmac operations need to conducted in warm weather without excessive rain. Even I know that.

Councillor Heather Kidd has now called for Ringway to be sacked. I agree with that. It is not rocket science to resurface roads correctly but Ringway seems to find even the basics difficult.

We have had three years of a company that is not up to speed. At Thursday’s council meeting, Viv Parry said she didn’t understand why Shropshire Council didn’t have close control on the quality of Ringway’s operations as they now share space in the Craven Arms depot.

If we are going to work with private companies, we need to be in control of what they do. The responsibility for the failure of Ringway lies just not with the company but also Shropshire Council.

The appointment of Councillor Simon Jones as portfolio holder for transport is a good move. He will bring a more experienced and critical perspective to the role.

He told the council meeting on Thursday that micro surfacing hasn’t worked – you only need to go to the Linney to see that – and will be probably abandoned in Shropshire. He has already demanded to know why Worcestershire Council has awarded a new contract to Diamond to run the troubled Kidderminster to Ludlow service.

His next task has to be to call Ringway to account. That means a tighter grip by council officers on the quality of Ringway’s work and sacking the company if it continues to get the most basic of things like resurfacing wrong.

Lower_Corve_Street_24_Oct_2014Ringway’s previous work on Corve Street, days after the surface was laid

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