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Hungerford mayor slams West Berkshire Council tarmac 'repair'

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THE mayor of Hungerford has slammed remedial works to a "disgraceful" tarmacking project – after contractors reportedly turned up with only a bottle of solvent and a damp cloth.

Helen Simpson told colleagues at a full meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Tuesday night, May 4: "If that's all the remedial works that are planned then they need to seriously think again."

The Newbury Weekly News recently highlighted the issue after an experimental new tarmacking material trialled in West Berkshire caused uproar.

Tarmac (56461020)
Tarmac (56461020)

The results, on several roads in Newbury and Hungerford, have been described as "shocking".

Residents reported the uneven surface, apparently poured straight onto street debris, is already cracking up with weeds growing through just days after being laid.

When challenged on the issue by the NWN, West Berkshire Council's executive member for planning, transport and the countryside, Richard Somner (Con, Tilehurst South and Holybrook) said: "It was disappointing to receive complaints from our residents because it's unusual for problems such as this to arise.

"I’m grateful to VolkerHighways for looking speedily into the issue for us and taking action to resolve it and I look forward to the successful completion of the corrective works."

But Mrs Simpson said the remedial works had been equally shocking.

She told the meeting: "The problem is ongoing; I can't tell you how disappointed I am by the service we've received.

"I'm just not prepared to let it go.

"The remedial works are taking place and it was just someone with a bottle of tar remover and a damp cloth - it's not acceptable."

She said she had challenged West Berkshire Council staff to come with her and see the problem first hand.

Mrs Simpson added: "It's important members of the [district] council can see for themselves rather than just going through their contractors.

"I really hope they can see what we see."

The offending tarmacking has been laid using a new material that combines micro asphalt and slurry sealing, which reportedly saves on material.

VolkerHighways laid 32,000sqm of the new material across four sites in West Berkshire, where it has a seven-year highways maintenance contract with West Berkshire Council.

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