Super solution to local road problems across Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire residents are being urged to take on some ‘super’ powers to help enable faster fixing of potholes, damaged kerbing and drains through a county council initiative.

Oxfordshire County Council currently has a number of active 'Super-Users' across the county and would like to see this grow.

For a number of years Oxfordshire County Council has been using Fix My Street to enable residents and its own staff to report problems on the roads and to give updates on progress.

In the last year, 4,582 repairs have been made from September 1, 2019 to September 1, 2020 in response to reports made through the online system.

Graham Porcas from Steeple Aston has been a super user since the scheme was first piloted two years ago along with County Cllr Liam Walker

Anything added to Fix My Street by members of the public results in a council highways inspector visiting the site and assessing each problem to see if a repair is needed according to set criteria. If it is, they then place an order for the work to be done.

The county council is calling on residents to put themselves forward to train and volunteer as “super users” who will be able to help speed the process up.

Under the scheme people will be given training in identifying and assessing things like potholes, blocked drains and damaged signs along with guidance on working safely on the roads, they will be authorised not only to make reports but also to order repairs to be carried out.

Volunteers will only be expected to cover their local area on mainly residential or quieter roads and will be assessed to ensure they can use the systems and carry out 'Super-User' requirements safely.

Graham Porcas from Steeple Aston has been a super user since the scheme was first piloted two years ago.

He said: “Steeple Aston has benefitted greatly from the super user scheme – there used to be lots of complaints in the village about the roads, but now there are very few.

“I have a very good relationship with the local highways representative from the council and also with the contractors, Skanska. When I make a report I find that things get fixed very quickly.

“Often I am contacted by the parish council who receive information on local problems from residents and I then go out and do an inspection. I also pick things up in my general day to day travels around the village.

“It’s a really good scheme and I would encourage people thinking about volunteering to find out more.”

County Councillor Liam Walker, cabinet member for highways delivery and operations, said: “Volunteers play a vital role in many different areas in Oxfordshire and help to keep the county vibrant.

“People see things in their local community and want them to be fixed. For a long time, there has been a perception that only the council can do certain things, but that’s not the case anymore.

“With training, support and some minimal resources we can unleash a great deal of enthusiasm in Oxfordshire with people helping to make a huge difference.

“This is about making the process of putting things right quicker and more efficient and I hope people from across the county will get in touch soon so that we can schedule training.”

To find out more visit: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/community-and-living/our-work-communities/oxfordshire-together/volunteer-highways and follow the link to contact the Volunteer Coordination Team.