Could residents soon have the chance to quiz highways chiefs over potholes?

Residents could soon get the chance to discuss their pothole problems with council highways chiefs.
Residents could soon get the chance to discuss their pothole problems with council highways chiefs.

Residents with complaints about potholes and other road-related issues may be given the opportunity to raise their concerns face to face with council highways staff.

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It's a recommendation due to be discussed at a meeting (June 14) of North Yorkshire County Council's area commmitte for Harrogate & Knaresborough which comprises the 13 county councillors representing wards within the Harrogate and Knaresborough parliamentary constituency.

"The committee will be considering how it can use its time most effectively," said NYCC's Democratic Services & Scrutiny Manager, Daniel Harry.

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"In the past, questions to the area committee from members of the public have sometimes led to lengthy discussions on very, very local highways issues relating to a very minor road in a village or town when perhaps the matter could have been dealt with far more quickly and efficiently if the resident had phoned a highways officer directly."

Mr Harry said: "It's entirely up to the committee but it could decide to invite a highways officer to be available before or after each future meeting of the area committee. This would provide residents with the opportunity to drop in and raise their concerns directly with highways staff."

Residents could also still use NYCC's website to complain about highways issues.

Mr Harry said there was no intention of dissuading or prohibiting residents from raising road-related issues with the whole committee. "Public Questions are a statutory right and cannot be removed from an agenda," he said.

The June 14 meeting will also consider the benefits of having a standard and timed agenda to enable routine matters to be dealt with more quickly and so allow more time for a focused review on a particular issue.

The committee will also discuss whether it's necessary for organisations such as North Yorkshire Police and the county's fire service to provide updates at every meeting or whether this could be done annually.

The committee will also discuss the role of co-opted members and whether it's necessary for non-councillors with specialist knowledge to be offered a permanent place on the committee or only be invited as and when required.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Committee comprises the following councillors: Philip Broadbank (LibDem, Harrogate Starbeck); Jim Clark (Con, Harrogate Harlow); Richard Cooper (Con, Harrogate Central); John Ennis (Con, Harrogate Oatlands); Michael Harrison (Con, Lower Nidderdale & Bishop Monkton); Paul Haslam (Con, Harrogate Bilton & Nidd Gorge); Don Mackenzie (Con, Harrogate Saltergate); John Mann (Con, Harrogate Central); Zoe Metcalfe (Con, Knaresborough); Cliff Trotter (Con, Pannal & Lower Wharfedale); Geoff Webber (LibDem, Harrogate Bilton & Nidd Gorge); Nicola Wilson (Con, Knaresborough); Robert Windass (Con, Boroughbridge.)