01 March 2023
Letter of Complaint to WNC re Condition of Highways

Ms Anna Earnshaw                                                                                      Long Buckby Parish Council

Chief Executive, West Northamptonshire Council                               

14th February 2023


Dear Ms Earnshaw,


We write to express our concern regarding the state of repair of the road network in and around Long Buckby Parish and to ask for your help in making much-needed repairs.

As you know, under the Highways Act of 1980, West Northamptonshire Council has a legal responsibility to maintain the roads in the Long Buckby area. We believe that the general state of repairs falls well short of your legal requirement and now represents a major hazard to road users and pedestrians. We are deeply concerned about the possibility of accidents and, potentially, loss of life, due to the inadequate maintenance of our road network.

At the last meeting of Long Buckby Parish Council we discussed the roads in and around the village.  We believe that there are three major issues to address.

  1. Safety and passability

West Northamptonshire Council has a duty to maintain public roads to a standard that ensure they are safe and passable.We have particular concerns about the following three roads that we believe fail to meet this standard. They are:

  • B3585 between Long Buckby and Watford – this road has a number of serious potholes, and the side of the road has collapsed along stretches; most drivers now keep to the middle of the road to avoid damage to their car.  The road follows turns and peaks and troughs meaning that many drivers are in danger of colliding with oncoming vehicles also driving in the middle of the road.  This is unacceptable and a major hazard.
    • We note that repair work was carried out on this road on the 13th February. Although the damage to this road is extensive, a crew of workmen addressed only one small area. Patching up the worst area of damage does not address the underlying and longer-term problem.
  • B5385 (the Three Bridges Road) between Long Buckby and Long Buckby Wharf – we have identified several serious potholes that present hazards for motorists. For example, the area around Station Garage at bottom of Long Buckby is a notorious black spot.
  • The Banks, Long Buckby – this road has long been the subject of complaints and is periodically subject to ‘patching up’ repairs. We have identified potholes that could cause accidents if not adequately repaired.
  • Station Road pavement by the Long Buckby Community Centre down to the Rugby and Football clubs of the village. This stretch of pavement is very uneven and represents a danger for pedestrians due to extensive damage from cars being illegally parked during events.

In our opinion, people no longer bother to report potholes because they believe that nothing will be done.

  1. Character of road

Under the 1980 Highways Act, West Northamptonshire Council is required to recognise the character of each road and to ensure that it is maintained effectively for the volume and type of traffic. We believe that this statutory duty is not being met in the following circumstance:

  • B5385 (the Three Bridges Road) by the Jackson’s Farm. The use of trucks and grain trailers at the farm has a serious negative impact on the road again representing a serious hazard for other road users. 
  1. Lack of signs around areas of significant flooding

Under the 1980 Highways Act, West Northamptonshire Council has a duty to ensure appropriate warning signs are in place for any dangers on the road. As well as the dangers posed by the extensive pothole damage previously cited, there is one additional danger within the parish that we believe is not adequately signposted.

  • After heavy rainfall, the B5385 (Three Bridges Road) coming out of Long Buckby floods. This fact has long been known. There is no signage warning road users of this potential hazard.

We believe that the state of our roads is now becoming dangerous.

To begin to address this situation, we would like to invite you to visit Long Buckby to:

  • Assess the dangers posed by lack of road maintenance for yourself.  We will provide a guided tour of roads that are failing to meet the required legal standards.
  • Address Long Buckby council taxpayers at the Annual Parish Meeting on Wednesday 5th April 2023 or at a public meeting (to be arranged at your convenience) to discuss the state of the road network and listen to their views and concerns.

We would then like you to provide a schedule of planned repairs within our Parish.

We look forward to receiving your response.

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