CROYDON COMMENTARY: Dangerously potholed roads, understaffed adult services, poorly maintained pavements… Many of the borough’s services were already badly run-down before the council’s financial collapse. TERRY McCARTHY believes there is real risk of the Town Hall incurring massive claims for compensation for its failure to fulfil many basic services
Inside Croydon has been forthright in exposing the sheer incompetence of Croydon Council. But is this the whole story?
We now know that the overall debt is in excess of £1.5billion and the forecast budget shortfall for the current financial year will exceed £60million.
However, a quick look round Croydon makes me wonder if this is anywhere near the true debt of the borough.
The state of many of Croydon’s streets are dreadful, with dangerous potholes on many main roads. The cost of these repairs must be huge, and many of the necessary works have been delayed, perhaps because of the council’s huge budget overrun.
Many of these are roads used by cyclists and represent a huge danger: some of the potholes are large enough to cause a serious accident and one can but wonder what legal recourse a cyclist involved in an accident would have against the council. This could possibly add even millions to the council’s financial obligations.
I saw a “Street Champion” working on Shirley Hills Road last week. I have walked these roads a lot since lockdown and the amount of litter left on the street has been dreadful. The volunteer Street Champion had filled at least six large bags of litter. He did a cracking job.
There are many parts of the Borough that are awash with litter. Take a walk from the Gravel Hill tram stop past Red Gates School towards the Quest Academy and walk the footpath beside the school. It is a total disgrace to any civilised society. How much will this and similar litter-strewn areas of the borough cost to clear up?
A quick look round the borough also shows that many pavements are in a poor state, or have hedges overgrowing them or poorly maintained verges belonging to the council. Could accidents here result in claims for compensation?
Meanwhile, the council’s adult social services were reportedly understaffed before, during and after Christmas, with many messages requesting urgent attention left unanswered. If a death occurred as a result of inaction or neglect, again the council be liable for potential damages.
These examples are only the tip of the iceberg of costs that need to be covered by the council but have not been recognised by those responsible for analysing the financial downfall of this Council.
These examples carry the risk of potential legal claims on the council. Can they really be ignored when seeking a financial solution to the borough’s woes?
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