Spending review - Somerset County Council roads chief resigns

THE councillor in charge of Somerset’s roads slapped in his resignation in protest when the county council highways cuts were announced.

Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew said declining road surfaces due top lack of investment would “contribute to deaths and serious injuries”.

The authority plans to halve its highways budget over three years.

Mr Trollope-Bellw, who held the transport and environment portfolio, said: “I find this unacceptable.

“I can’t even accept the financial logic.

“There will be a saving of £35million, but in three years’ time there will be a backlog of £203million – that’s an independently attested figure.

“There will be 96,000 extra potholes, and whether whoever is in control in three years’ time will be able to put the roads back to the state they are in now, I very much doubt.

“The effect will be felt for years to come.

“I believe we need to borrow as the lesser of two evils.

“If we don’t, the road surface will contribute to deaths and serious injuries.”

He said he believed the authority is spending only a fifth of what it needs to on its highways system.

Council leader Cllr Ken Maddock said Mr Trollope-Bellew’sa decision demonstrated how tough the cuts had been.

He added: “But the Government has cut back a quarter of our funding and we don’t have a choice.

“We’ve spent months looking at how we can be more efficient and where we can cut, but also how we can protect frontline services wherever possible.

“There are things we really didn’t want to cut back, but we just don’t have a choice.”

As well as Mr Trollope-Bellew’s exit, Mr Maddock has axed a further two of his Cabint, which will now be five-strong.

Mr Maddock said: “The county council needs to get smaller and is cutting staff, so it’s only right that the Cabinet should do the same.”

Also going are Cllr Stephen Martin-Scott, responsible for strategy and communications, and William Wallace, responsible for community safety.

Mr Maddock added: “In the current financial environment it was always my intention to reduce the size of the Cabinet, but Cllr Trollope-Bellew’s personal decision to leave the Cabinet has made it sensible for this change to be brought forward.

“I’d like to pay tribute to all three of my colleagues who have stepped down this week - each has worked exceptionally hard for the county since we took office last year.”

Comments (17)

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11:26am Fri 22 Oct 10

Jo28 says...

Perhaps the councillors should turn on the national news more often as the Tories themselves are carrying the axe here.

Also:

'Slapped in his resignation' is not the best grammar.
Perhaps the councillors should turn on the national news more often as the Tories themselves are carrying the axe here. Also: 'Slapped in his resignation' is not the best grammar. Jo28
  • Score: 0

11:48am Fri 22 Oct 10

grisleyreg says...

Why was the opportunity to merge district and county councils missed a year or so ago, The County Council was, is and always will be a serious way of wasting our money,
This is the time for a serious rethink of local government structure lets eliminate the county and cut out one level of costs
Do we really need a County council, a District council and a Town Council? all at our expense
Why was the opportunity to merge district and county councils missed a year or so ago, The County Council was, is and always will be a serious way of wasting our money, This is the time for a serious rethink of local government structure lets eliminate the county and cut out one level of costs Do we really need a County council, a District council and a Town Council? all at our expense grisleyreg
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Fri 22 Oct 10

Jo28 says...

There is a strong case for unitary in Taunton - but as we've seen with South West One the savings don't always come instantly...sometime
s it's a generation before they start to make an impact.
There is a strong case for unitary in Taunton - but as we've seen with South West One the savings don't always come instantly...sometime s it's a generation before they start to make an impact. Jo28
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Fri 22 Oct 10

grisleyreg says...

I fail to see how all these redundancies will help the economy, How much of this is headline grabbing and conservatives doing what they always do but able at the moment to blame everyone else
I fail to see how all these redundancies will help the economy, How much of this is headline grabbing and conservatives doing what they always do but able at the moment to blame everyone else grisleyreg
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Fri 22 Oct 10

Nell Bennett says...

I agree it was stupid of the decision makers not to go for a unitary authority when the chance was there. These work elsewhere, and most of our councillors, certainly in South Somerset, seem to be in office at all three levels of local government anyway, making decisions on town, district, and county business already. If people think this is acceptable and makes for good government then I don't see why we don't go the whole hog with the whole administration.
Extending the remit of each administrative department to cover that same in-house business needed at both District and County level would be extremely cost efficient. And we have duplicate councillor portfolio titles, so if someone holds that remit for the Environment for instance in one tier of Council, and they happen to be elected on to all three tiers of councils anyway, having knowledge of and an interest in all areas of Local Government, then couldn't they hold the one common portfolio? If we've no diversity or differentiation in the Councillors holding decision making positions in the Authority, could not the actual administrative departments share their overlap more functionally too? The economy of savings made at executive level would be massive. I see all the grounds for argument to keep District and County council business separate, mtag of which objections can be put down to basic human dear of change, but unless you've got money to burn, I'm sure a workable system could be created AND well performed. Other regions already manage to do so effectively.
I agree it was stupid of the decision makers not to go for a unitary authority when the chance was there. These work elsewhere, and most of our councillors, certainly in South Somerset, seem to be in office at all three levels of local government anyway, making decisions on town, district, and county business already. If people think this is acceptable and makes for good government then I don't see why we don't go the whole hog with the whole administration. Extending the remit of each administrative department to cover that same in-house business needed at both District and County level would be extremely cost efficient. And we have duplicate councillor portfolio titles, so if someone holds that remit for the Environment for instance in one tier of Council, and they happen to be elected on to all three tiers of councils anyway, having knowledge of and an interest in all areas of Local Government, then couldn't they hold the one common portfolio? If we've no diversity or differentiation in the Councillors holding decision making positions in the Authority, could not the actual administrative departments share their overlap more functionally too? The economy of savings made at executive level would be massive. I see all the grounds for argument to keep District and County council business separate, mtag of which objections can be put down to basic human dear of change, but unless you've got money to burn, I'm sure a workable system could be created AND well performed. Other regions already manage to do so effectively. Nell Bennett
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Fri 22 Oct 10

Porlock_Bay says...

I think the only viable option is one single council for Somerset, carrying out the functions of both the County and the Districts - why do we need 302 council seats across the County and Districts anyway? The districts have tiny budgets, yet still seem to feel they justify 60 Councillors in the case of South Somerset, when at County level there are 58 for the whole of Somerset (although personally I think 25 would suffice and would have no impact whatsoever on services). I seriously question why we need the districts anyway, all they seem to do is argue with each other while providing duplicate services from which I’m sure big efficiencies could be made. As for the Councillors themselves I think they should go back to being paid expenses only (using the same scheme as staff, and be subject to the same disciplinary procedures if caught abusing it), as many are receiving tens of thousands in allowances for sitting there and nodding through whatever policy the leader has told them to beforehand.
I think the only viable option is one single council for Somerset, carrying out the functions of both the County and the Districts - why do we need 302 council seats across the County and Districts anyway? The districts have tiny budgets, yet still seem to feel they justify 60 Councillors in the case of South Somerset, when at County level there are 58 for the whole of Somerset (although personally I think 25 would suffice and would have no impact whatsoever on services). I seriously question why we need the districts anyway, all they seem to do is argue with each other while providing duplicate services from which I’m sure big efficiencies could be made. As for the Councillors themselves I think they should go back to being paid expenses only (using the same scheme as staff, and be subject to the same disciplinary procedures if caught abusing it), as many are receiving tens of thousands in allowances for sitting there and nodding through whatever policy the leader has told them to beforehand. Porlock_Bay
  • Score: 0

7:35pm Fri 22 Oct 10

Jo28 says...

Also I would like to make the point that the new roads in taunton are gobbling up a huge amount of money while existing roads crumble. New roads have been proven not to alleviate traffic but to actually increase it and also take money away from the roads we already use.

Perhaps there would be more money in the budget for existing structures if we had put more road building projects on hold...
Also I would like to make the point that the new roads in taunton are gobbling up a huge amount of money while existing roads crumble. New roads have been proven not to alleviate traffic but to actually increase it and also take money away from the roads we already use. Perhaps there would be more money in the budget for existing structures if we had put more road building projects on hold... Jo28
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Fri 22 Oct 10

trufflehunt says...

As far as I can see, Ken Maddock is really just a talking head for his political masters at Westminster. He's never sounded, to me, particularly bothered about the consequences of cuts.

The roads... I've read all Maddock's parading around, boasting about the roads that have been repaired in Somerset since his party got back into power here. Well, where I live, in front of my house, there is a road that needed major repair, complete re-surfacing. In the last few months it has been repaired by a process called tar-spraying. That is, you fill the holes with loose rubble and bits, bash it down a bit, make sure its all reasonably level, spray the road with hot tar, then cover it all with gravel. It's the cheapest of the cheapest of the cheap ways to say you have resurfaced a road, without actually lying. And it doesn't last long.

Perhaps part of the reason for Councillor Trollope-Bellew's resignation was because he was aware of the large gap , under the current budget, between Maddock's trumpeting and the reality.... and that , with even less budget, he knew that all the lies would come home to roost in a not too far distant while.
As far as I can see, Ken Maddock is really just a talking head for his political masters at Westminster. He's never sounded, to me, particularly bothered about the consequences of cuts. The roads... I've read all Maddock's parading around, boasting about the roads that have been repaired in Somerset since his party got back into power here. Well, where I live, in front of my house, there is a road that needed major repair, complete re-surfacing. In the last few months it has been repaired by a process called tar-spraying. That is, you fill the holes with loose rubble and bits, bash it down a bit, make sure its all reasonably level, spray the road with hot tar, then cover it all with gravel. It's the cheapest of the cheapest of the cheap ways to say you have resurfaced a road, without actually lying. And it doesn't last long. Perhaps part of the reason for Councillor Trollope-Bellew's resignation was because he was aware of the large gap , under the current budget, between Maddock's trumpeting and the reality.... and that , with even less budget, he knew that all the lies would come home to roost in a not too far distant while. trufflehunt
  • Score: 0

9:13pm Fri 22 Oct 10

grisleyreg says...

Taunton is lucky to get new roads this is part of the problem with the county council large parts of the area are constantly ignored in favour of Taunton and Yeovil.
Taunton is lucky to get new roads this is part of the problem with the county council large parts of the area are constantly ignored in favour of Taunton and Yeovil. grisleyreg
  • Score: 0

2:18pm Sat 23 Oct 10

souwesterly says...

Well, that's probably £35,000 or so saved.....
!
Is that called 'voluntary' redundancy??
LOL
Well, that's probably £35,000 or so saved..... ! Is that called 'voluntary' redundancy?? LOL souwesterly
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Sun 24 Oct 10

Mc@Cloud says...

Should be sacked anyway the road are awful at the moment anyway. Sure he can afford just take his final salary pension early and only have two exotic holdiays a year and a new bmw every 4 years not 3 hard old life being a public servant!!!!

My uncle has just retired from a similar position for wiltshire council @55 years old and is laughing all the way to the bank on his obscence final salary pension.

My mum on the other hand has several degrees in graphic design and early years teaching and has worked hard all her life and @ 57 can't afford to retire let alone do it great comfort. Just shows the gap golden gap between private and public I welcome some moving of the goal posts.
Should be sacked anyway the road are awful at the moment anyway. Sure he can afford just take his final salary pension early and only have two exotic holdiays a year and a new bmw every 4 years not 3 hard old life being a public servant!!!! My uncle has just retired from a similar position for wiltshire council @55 years old and is laughing all the way to the bank on his obscence final salary pension. My mum on the other hand has several degrees in graphic design and early years teaching and has worked hard all her life and @ 57 can't afford to retire let alone do it great comfort. Just shows the gap golden gap between private and public I welcome some moving of the goal posts. Mc@Cloud
  • Score: 0

1:41pm Sun 24 Oct 10

Nell Bennett says...

lols @ 'the golden gap' phrase :-)
You know, you CAN slap in your resignation, grammatically or not - I did once, over a disagreement. That's the sound of paper hitting the desk.
lols @ 'the golden gap' phrase :-) You know, you CAN slap in your resignation, grammatically or not - I did once, over a disagreement. That's the sound of paper hitting the desk. Nell Bennett
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Sun 24 Oct 10

Nell Bennett says...

Porlock_Bay wrote:
I think the only viable option is one single council for Somerset, carrying out the functions of both the County and the Districts - why do we need 302 council seats across the County and Districts anyway? The districts have tiny budgets, yet still seem to feel they justify 60 Councillors in the case of South Somerset, when at County level there are 58 for the whole of Somerset (although personally I think 25 would suffice and would have no impact whatsoever on services). I seriously question why we need the districts anyway, all they seem to do is argue with each other while providing duplicate services from which I’m sure big efficiencies could be made. As for the Councillors themselves I think they should go back to being paid expenses only (using the same scheme as staff, and be subject to the same disciplinary procedures if caught abusing it), as many are receiving tens of thousands in allowances for sitting there and nodding through whatever policy the leader has told them to beforehand.
hear hear . . . hear. . . hear. . . hear . . . hear
[quote][p][bold]Porlock_Bay[/bold] wrote: I think the only viable option is one single council for Somerset, carrying out the functions of both the County and the Districts - why do we need 302 council seats across the County and Districts anyway? The districts have tiny budgets, yet still seem to feel they justify 60 Councillors in the case of South Somerset, when at County level there are 58 for the whole of Somerset (although personally I think 25 would suffice and would have no impact whatsoever on services). I seriously question why we need the districts anyway, all they seem to do is argue with each other while providing duplicate services from which I’m sure big efficiencies could be made. As for the Councillors themselves I think they should go back to being paid expenses only (using the same scheme as staff, and be subject to the same disciplinary procedures if caught abusing it), as many are receiving tens of thousands in allowances for sitting there and nodding through whatever policy the leader has told them to beforehand.[/p][/quote]hear hear . . . hear. . . hear. . . hear . . . hear Nell Bennett
  • Score: 0

9:22pm Sun 24 Oct 10

Mc@Cloud says...

Nell Bennett wrote:
Porlock_Bay wrote: I think the only viable option is one single council for Somerset, carrying out the functions of both the County and the Districts - why do we need 302 council seats across the County and Districts anyway? The districts have tiny budgets, yet still seem to feel they justify 60 Councillors in the case of South Somerset, when at County level there are 58 for the whole of Somerset (although personally I think 25 would suffice and would have no impact whatsoever on services). I seriously question why we need the districts anyway, all they seem to do is argue with each other while providing duplicate services from which I’m sure big efficiencies could be made. As for the Councillors themselves I think they should go back to being paid expenses only (using the same scheme as staff, and be subject to the same disciplinary procedures if caught abusing it), as many are receiving tens of thousands in allowances for sitting there and nodding through whatever policy the leader has told them to beforehand.
hear hear . . . hear. . . hear. . . hear . . . hear
Whilst its a great idea to cut the number of local authorities in this country by ad least half I think it would take years for **** around before we saw any savings....(southwes
t one is in a case in point) They would need millions to be set up and I am not sure its the best move at the moment.

However the amount over paid chief executives running these laughing houses for 180k a year plus bonuses!!! More than the guy running the country why has it gone on so long!!! Cut them all to 90k a year if they think they are worth more than that they can move to us and go work for apple or some organisation tha t produces product/service that makes it viable to pay salaries like that.
[quote][p][bold]Nell Bennett[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Porlock_Bay[/bold] wrote: I think the only viable option is one single council for Somerset, carrying out the functions of both the County and the Districts - why do we need 302 council seats across the County and Districts anyway? The districts have tiny budgets, yet still seem to feel they justify 60 Councillors in the case of South Somerset, when at County level there are 58 for the whole of Somerset (although personally I think 25 would suffice and would have no impact whatsoever on services). I seriously question why we need the districts anyway, all they seem to do is argue with each other while providing duplicate services from which I’m sure big efficiencies could be made. As for the Councillors themselves I think they should go back to being paid expenses only (using the same scheme as staff, and be subject to the same disciplinary procedures if caught abusing it), as many are receiving tens of thousands in allowances for sitting there and nodding through whatever policy the leader has told them to beforehand.[/p][/quote]hear hear . . . hear. . . hear. . . hear . . . hear[/p][/quote]Whilst its a great idea to cut the number of local authorities in this country by ad least half I think it would take years for **** around before we saw any savings....(southwes t one is in a case in point) They would need millions to be set up and I am not sure its the best move at the moment. However the amount over paid chief executives running these laughing houses for 180k a year plus bonuses!!! More than the guy running the country why has it gone on so long!!! Cut them all to 90k a year if they think they are worth more than that they can move to us and go work for apple or some organisation tha t produces product/service that makes it viable to pay salaries like that. Mc@Cloud
  • Score: 0

3:29am Mon 25 Oct 10

Nell Bennett says...

Yup. Quite. Though for the time being they could just slash the number of councillors. Only a few are really good at their jobs. Keep those ones. Drop the rest. Whole pointless system annoys me, especially when they're not representing the views of anyone in their wards just pummelling away their own, and them again also that too often they're not even thinking intelligently and with their own brains about what would be for the good of the community but instead just vacuous puppets for what their own leader is telling them to think and vote accordingly. In which case, we just need the man wearing the glove who's running the puppets. Fund and argue with just the one. Then they're also meant to learn the workings of their respective councils inside-out aren't they, and absorb the information and concerns of people who speak to them about their dealings with and requirements of the councils. So when they can't do that, or think appraise and vote after independent analysis for themselves in a committee, truly what are they doing there? You feteal the occasional one with integrity and social conscience, and at local government level I couldn't care less which party they think they're in. "The Community" is the one they're meant to be in. In fact I think they should all be Independent.
Yup. Quite. Though for the time being they could just slash the number of councillors. Only a few are really good at their jobs. Keep those ones. Drop the rest. Whole pointless system annoys me, especially when they're not representing the views of anyone in their wards just pummelling away their own, and them again also that too often they're not even thinking intelligently and with their own brains about what would be for the good of the community but instead just vacuous puppets for what their own leader is telling them to think and vote accordingly. In which case, we just need the man wearing the glove who's running the puppets. Fund and argue with just the one. Then they're also meant to learn the workings of their respective councils inside-out aren't they, and absorb the information and concerns of people who speak to them about their dealings with and requirements of the councils. So when they can't do that, or think appraise and vote after independent analysis for themselves in a committee, truly what are they doing there? You feteal the occasional one with integrity and social conscience, and at local government level I couldn't care less which party they think they're in. "The Community" is the one they're meant to be in. In fact I think they should all be Independent. Nell Bennett
  • Score: 0

11:40am Tue 26 Oct 10

rockwell says...

I find this loathing of Councillors interesting.
25 Years ago I was a County Councillor (not in Somerset) and was putting in up to 60 hours a week. Plenty of locally elected politicians do this. Some are lazy and useless I know.
Many spend long hours each week on casework and have time wasted by local obsessives seeking the impossible.
So a generalised attack on all councillors is just the politics of scapegoating.
I find this loathing of Councillors interesting. 25 Years ago I was a County Councillor (not in Somerset) and was putting in up to 60 hours a week. Plenty of locally elected politicians do this. Some are lazy and useless I know. Many spend long hours each week on casework and have time wasted by local obsessives seeking the impossible. So a generalised attack on all councillors is just the politics of scapegoating. rockwell
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Thu 28 Oct 10

laine15 says...

hi my name is elaine george im trying to find my father Anthony Dicks he apparenty lives in wellington somerset. i am in my 40's and have never known him but would very much like to also my mothers name is Beryl George if you know anything atall that would help me to find him please contact me on 07931181985 thankyou.
hi my name is elaine george im trying to find my father Anthony Dicks he apparenty lives in wellington somerset. i am in my 40's and have never known him but would very much like to also my mothers name is Beryl George if you know anything atall that would help me to find him please contact me on 07931181985 thankyou. laine15
  • Score: 0

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