COUNCIL workmen have broken with convention by repairing potholes in an unadopted Wigan street.
They took action despite the authority’s repeated arguing for years that it couldn’t spend taxpayers’ cash on the disputed middle part of Quaker Place in Standish because it was a private road.
The section, which has crumbled away over successive winters, is owned by a Monaco-based property company and so falls outside UK local authority jurisdiction.
Highways men arrived with a lorry and bitumen a week after Coun George Davies, who lives opposite the potholes, claimed that ambulance staff had aired concerns about the prospect of having to drive over the section at speed on an emergency.
Local councillor George Fairhurst had also been campaigning for the repairs for years.
Guidance on the council’s own website states that a “private street is one which is not maintained by the council” which meant that town hall chiefs, despite being the legal Highway Authority, were under “no obligation” to carry out repairs to the street, even though it may have been in use as a highway for many years and its surface is in a bad condition.
But Wigan Council Chief Executive Donna Hall said: “While the street is unadopted and we do not normally carry out work of this nature, at the request of local residents we have been working with United Utilities who have agreed to pick up the bill for this work.”
Coun Fairhurst said: “After years of campaigning for this I am really pleased to see work finally carried out.
Coun Davies added: “The council have been trying to legally find out who the owners of this no man’s land are to get something done about it. But the trail has gone cold when it got as far as a property company registered in Monaco.
“I asked the officers from highways to come down and have another look and I said that, sorry, but things have got so bad that when the emergency services are worried about using it there is a safety case for getting something done now and then arguing about the ownership later because the situation was getting out of hand.”
He said the council had agreed that they would fill in the potholes on safety grounds “out of their reserves” even though it wasn’t their land.
He accepts that vehicular “wear and tear” could mean the operation will need repeating in a few years time.
Coun Davies said he would continue to push for the troublesome middle section of the road to be adopted.