West Norfolk councillors criticise county over road maintenance stance

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County roads chiefs have been accused of “cutting corners” over maintenance.

The claim came during Monday’s West Norfolk Council planning committee meeting, which considered three separate applications where Norfolk County Council had declined to take responsibility for new road links.

The stance led to calls for the county’s Highways department to attend the committee’s meetings.

Board chairman Vivienne Spikings said the county’s stance could be a “stumbling block” to development.

During consideration of an application for new homes in Docking, UKIP group leader Paul Foster asked why a footpath proposed on the site was narrower than the recommended 2m minimum.

Mr Foster said: “It’s no surprise to me that the county council haven’t read their own rules again.”

Tory Avril Wright added: “They seem to be cutting corners. I think it’s totally unfair.”

But Toby Coke, chairman of the county council’s environment, development and transport committee, said borough councillors were criticising the wrong authority.

He said: “They’d better start lobbying their MP to stop central government cutting the support grant.”

Government cuts in grants meant that the only option to maintain services was a huge council tax increase – which was not an option. He added: “At the county council, we’re really scraping the barrel and it isn’t easy.”