City of York Council pay to repair private road in village - but 'don't want other residents to think they'll get the same treatment'

An 'emergency decision' to fund the £400,000 repair of a private road at risk of slipping into a beck was made behind closed doors at City of York Council.

Th end of Springfield Close, in the ward of Heworth Without, is a private, unadopted carriageway accessible to the public and the collapse of its supporting wall could lead to flooding downstream, according to City of York Council.

A senior council officer last week gave the go-ahead for the authority to pay for its repair, but corporate director of place, Neil Ferris, said the council did not want residents living on private roads elsewhere in the city to think they could rely on similar treatment.

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But York Labour have criticised the move and implied the decision was a “special case” because it is in ruling councillor Nigel Ayre’s ward.

Springfield Close in York is a private road

The road is a cul-de-sac and the state of the road at the end has left around three properties unable to park outside their homes.

The council report said it was “a relatively unique set of circumstances where the condition of the private street is likely to have much wider community impacts due to changing water levels in the beck on the complete failure of the carriageway.”

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Labour group leader Pete Kilbane said: “This decision was taken by a senior officer in consultation with ruling councillor and local resident Nigel Ayre, in relation to a private road that happens to be around the corner from where Coun Ayre lives.

“The council has hugely exaggerated the emergency nature of this decision and should be undertaking a full investigation into not only why the road failed, but what needs to be done to prevent it failing again.”

While Coun Ayre, executive member for finance and performance, was consulted on the decision, he “declined to express a view to the corporate director regarding this specific decision due to any potential conflict of interest,” according to a council spokesperson.

Coun Ayre was “content” that officers deferred to the view of executive member for transport and council deputy leader, Coun Andy D’Agorne, they added.

Coun Kilbane said: “The council has taken this decision at great public expense and can expect the floodgates to now open on residents in other private roads making the case that their streets present a risk to public safety and therefore justify claims on the public purse.

“Looking at this site it is obvious that there is nothing so urgent that it prevents a public report being prepared and published for an elected councillor to make a decision on.”

The council spokesperson added: “Given the unique circumstances and the wider community impact, the council can utilise its statutory powers to deal with urgent repairs required to remove danger and enable safe passage by members of the public.

“The only planned works are to replace the wall which is required to ensure the carriageway is useable and repair the damage to the carriageway.”