REFERRING to a story in the Craven Herald of April 1 in which Cllr Stephen Place stated that “the committee was acting unreasonably by questioning the expertise, competence and reliability of the highways officers”, I couldn’t help thinking that his view would be somewhat different if he had endured the same experiences of the highways department as myself, which calls into question all three of those attributes.

In 2019 the highways department engaged contractors to remove and refit the stone setts along Back Castle Street, Skipton, which runs along the side of our house.

The whole process was a nightmare from start to finish and the section alongside our house is now more undulated than it was before the work was done.

Also, the run-off water from this section no longer flows into the requisite drain. The water now bypasses the drain and flows onto the path outside our door and then continues down the street and I have video evidence of this.

Our frequent requests over many months to have this put right have so far been ignored.  

Prior to this fiasco the highways department had attempted to resurface the tarmac roads in the area.

This proved to be a complete waste of money, which was literally poured down the drain, as that’s where all the chippings finished up! The road surface had less traction after the work had been done than before and there were several incidents where cars slid down our steep street into another parked car.

I realise that the highways budget will be under strain due to the huge cuts in public spending but that is all the more reason to obtain good value. Good value is not achieved by just bodging things up. Hopefully the new replacement for NYCC whatever form it takes, will look more carefully at the operation of the highways department so that it can become fit for purpose.

M. Burton


In response, Karl Battersby, North Yorkshire County Council’s Corporate Director of Business and Environmental Services, said: "In 2017, surface dressing was carried out to the front of Cromwell Street as part of a large-scale programme of road improvements in the area.

In spring 2018, we responded to complaints of loose chippings by sweeping and cleaning nearby gullies.

We believe the removal and refitting of stone setts on the street was a very successful project. The setts now slope to drain water into the gully. Since the work was carried out, we have received no reports of water entering properties. We respond to any complaints we receive and will always do everything we can to remedy any issues.

A highways engineer has visited the site to discuss Mr and Mrs Burton’s concerns with them on numerous occasions."