Villagers take D.I.Y action over poor condition of Dowsdale Bank
Villagers near Shepeau Stow have taken matters into their own hands and tidied up a road they reported to county highways officers five months ago.
In a nod to the “big society” concept championed by ex-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, neighbours living in Dowsdale Bank have cut back overhanging trees, mowed grass verges damaged by HGVs and put back a “No Through Road” sign.
Angelo Convertino accused Lincolnshire County Council of “having done nothing” about Dowsdale Bank, including potholes that still remain on the road, despite the council’s £35.4million roads budget for 2017-18.
The DIY repairs to Dowsdale Bank came after two HGVs went down Dowsdale Bank last month, both late at night, when one of the lorries had to be helped of a vehicle recovery service.
Angelo, whose complaints about Dowsdale Bank were reported by the Spalding Guardian on February 8, said: “The county
council said it would investigate the problem.
The work we’ve done on Dowsdale Bank shows how we feel - if you want something doing, do it yourself
“But it’s done nothing when the overhanging trees were causing an obstruction and the sign was still down, things I’d reported on the council’s website since October.
“So I dug a hole in the ground, next to where the sign used to be, and stuck it in myself.”
Angelo also cut back overhanging trees along Dowsdale Bank “by about a metre” to help drivers avoid having to travel on the wrong side of the road towards a “blind bend”.
He said: “My neighbours have cleared up the road by scraping the mud off it left by the lorries that drove onto the grass and churned up the verges.
“They also mowed the grass verges in case any more lorries turn up here at night because there are no lights down here and the last lorry that came down here, the driver had to call the breakdown service to get him out.
“The work we’ve done on Dowsdale Bank shows how we feel - if you want something doing, do it yourself.”
Whether repairs in Dowsdale Bank will be funded by the extra £3.4million coming to the county council from the Government’s Pothole Action Fund remains to be seen.
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, announced that the council now has £12.4million to spend on potholes, road repairs and other improvements in 2018/19.
Regarding Dowsdale Bank, he said: “We are still aware of these issues, and they will be dealt with accordingly. However, at the moment, our number one priority is filling potholes and carrying out more urgent maintenance works.
“We appreciate this is a frustrating situation, but we need to prioritise repairs to the county’s busiest routes.
“Whilst we encourage community involvement in certain aspects of the work we carry out, it must be done safely to avoid harming oneself and others.
“For example, replacing a road sign could prove dangerous as there could be any number of cables underground, which, if struck, could cause serious injury or damage.”
Coun Bob Merchant, chairman of Whaplode Parish Council, which Dowsdale Bank comes under, said: “I can understand the frustrations of Mr Convertino and I fully support his concerns.
“Unfortunately, by taking action themselves, Mr Convertino and his neighbours are subject to health and safety issues which, I believe, should cause the highways authority to be ashamed of their inaction.”
To report a highways fault, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/faultreporting or call 01522 782070.