Potholes petition sparks roads row between representatives in neighbourhood
A political row has broken out over a pothole petition in a Sunderland neighbourhood.
Earlier this year, residents in Westfield Court and Mount Grove, in Barnes, raised concerns about road standards.
This included issues around potholes and crumbling road surfaces in the two streets.
Conservative councillor Antony Mullen said the petitions were a “last resort” for residents – with similar issues in other cul-de-sacs in the Barnes area.
A combined petition from both streets with 30-plus signatures was submitted to the council on June 19.
However, the petition has sparked angry comments from Coun Rebecca Atkinson, who has defended Labour’s record in the area.
In March, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet agreed works for 10 unclassified roads in the Barnes area, including Mount Grove.
The works fall against a backdrop of a £5million investment into nearly 250 road and footpath and roads in Sunderland this year.
Now, Coun Atkinson has claimed her Conservative rival used the petition in an attempt to “claim victory over potholes” in the ward.
She said: “It’s disappointing that Coun Mullen is attempting to use this petition for Mount Grove residents as a means to try and claim victory over potholes in Barnes ward.
“I have worked extremely hard over the last 18 months to ensure that roads like Mount Grove are included in the re-surfacing schedule.
“I have brought this issue to the attention of officers and met with residents at several site visits.
“Working hard and listening to our residents is how to effect change, not by writing press releases.
“If Coun Mullen wishes to petition on anything it should be to this Tory Government to ensure that Sunderland receives a fairer local Government Settlement.”
Coun Mullen has hit back, stating the petitions were handed to him at his ward surgery from “frustrated” residents.
“Coun Atkinson wrongly assumes I organised these petitions. They were actually given to me by frustrated residents at my ward surgery,” he said.
“These residents said a petition was their last resort.”
He added: “While I welcome the Mount Grove repairs, there is no news on Westfield Court, residents of that cul-de-sac have been asking for repair work to be undertaken for 17 years.
“I have visited the home of every single resident in Westfield Court to discuss this issue.”
He went on: “I do not need advice from her on how to work hard for Barnes residents.”
Programmed road works in Barnes this year include:
Ettrick Grove east back
Ormonde Street east back
Wavendon Crescent junction with Chester Road.