Roads and pavements in Denbighshire are deteriorating due to a recruitment freeze aimed at protecting council employees’ jobs, councillors have been told.

The council is facing a £20-£26m black hole next year and a £3.3m shortfall in the current financial year.

At a cabinet meeting at the council’s Ruthin County Hall HQ, council officers were grilled by councillors on the state of Denbighshire’s roads and pavements when discussing the corporate plan and performance update.

Cllr Hugh Irving complained about the state of the roads in Prestatyn, before highways officer Tony Ward explained council vacancies for jobs working on the roads were being left unfilled.

Mr Ward said this was in case other council staff needed relocating in future – supposedly pre-empting jobs cuts.


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Cllr Irving said: “It is disappointing to note that there is still a red warning, if I can use that term, a red flag against the repairs of pavements and roads.

“I know in my own ward there is quite a lot of work that needs doing.

“I took Tony Ward around the ward to highlight them with him.

“He took lots of photographs, and that’s about as far as it’s gone.

“And it is just disappointing that we are not able to make more of an impact on those essential repairs that are actually needed on a lot of our urban roads and pavements.”

Leader Cllr Jason McLellan then said: “I think many of the members would say rural roads as well.

“I’ll go back to the point Julie (Cllr Matthews) made, and that’s about the delivery of the plan set against the huge budget challenges that we are facing.

“I don’t think that context should be forgotten.”

Mr Ward then said: “There are ongoing challenges in relation to this for sure, and certainly the financial situation isn’t helping with it.

“Our members will be aware that we have some additional controls in place at the moment where we are looking at any vacant positions and if we can fill them.

“A lot of vacancies have been held currently, partly because of the financial situation and also partly to try and ensure we have some vacancies available should we need to redeploy staff from other areas over the next six to 12 months.”

He added: “So we are holding vacancies in the highways team as a result of that process, so we have fewer highways operatives currently than we have in the past, and obviously that’s having an impact to some extent on service delivery.”

Cllr Irving added: “Nevertheless, I think we all need to be aware of our own individual wards.

“We will all have examples of our own that we can make.

“And I’d like to think that, withstanding the financial situation, that we can manage the financial situation to show that we are at least showing we are trying to get some of this work done, because for me, as a ward councillor, and I can’t speak for anybody else, it’s a subject that comes up with residents.

“‘Look at the pothole outside my house. Look at the pothole on that Junction.

“Look at the state of that pavement’, and that is one of the public perceptions of Denbighshire County Council.”