Calls to use £4.2m rainy day cash on flood defences

The £4.2 million dumped into the reserve fund by Herts County Council should be pumped into improving road surfaces and flood defences.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 5:00 am
Flooding in London Road

That is the view of Lib Dem councillors after the Tory-led council last week decided to transfer surplus cash from 2015/16 into the Invest to Transform fund.

The reserve fund supports ‘innovative projects’ with a view to making ‘future savings’.

But county councillor Paul Zukowskyj thinks the £4.2 million would be better spent on highways and flood prevention schemes.

Sign up to our daily Hemel Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem county councillor for Hertfordshire

He said: “It’s being saved for a rainy day – but it’s been raining for the last five years.

“This is very real for a lot of people. The roads are falling apart and what are we doing about it?

“We have the kit, we have the people, so what’s the problem? We keep getting told the budget isn’t big enough but there is £250 million in reserves – perhaps it’s time to use it.”

A mum who lives in London Road, Hemel Hempstead, has been campaigning for urgent improvements to be made.

Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem county councillor for Hertfordshire

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has written to MP Mike Penning because she and her neighbours, many of whom have young children, need sandbags to keep floodwater at bay.

She said: “It’s very frustrating. I phone every time it rains.

“They put signs on the road to say it’s flooded but it does nothing. No attempt is made to flush the drains through.

“I’ve been told the floor in the front room needs to be ripped up and you spend hundreds on the garden to make it look nice, just for it to be completely destroyed.”