UKIP calls for public enquiry into Old Town roadworks are dismissed

Hemel Hempstead's High Street after roadworks finished
Hemel Hempstead's High Street after roadworks finished

The county councillor in charge of highways has dismissed calls from Hemel Hempstead’s UKIP party tohold a public enquiry into the overrun Old Town roadworks.

Town party chairman Howard Koch, who also runs a dentistry practice in the High Street, has demanded Herts County Council – who contracted the works out to civil engineers Jackson – bear the cost of a public enquiry due to the delays in the project.

Mr Koch slammed the work, which went seven months over its initial completion date, as a “potentially huge waste of public money” and highlighted alleged dangers in the High Street’s new design.

He said: “If the council refuses a public enquiry serious doubt should be placed over their competence to run the numerous projects that they have planned, such as the Marlowes shopping area rebuild.

“This is on behalf of the people of Hemel Hempstead, regardless of what party they support.”

Mr Koch has also written to town MP Mike Penning requesting that he raise the issue in Parliament.

Herts County Council cabinet member for highways Terry Douris, who also sits on Dacorum Borough Council and lives in Grovehill, said: “We have no plans at all to launch a public enquiry but we will be reviewing the contract – as we do with all contracts, whether they are large or small.

“The completion of the financial arrangements has not been finished yet and we will make sure the costs are minimised in the public purse.

“ It should be recognised that Dacorum Borough Council have been hugely supportive of the local traders and businesses throughout the project. The finished High Street is looking absolutely brilliant and it is a credit to the town and the environment.”

Last week the High Street works came to an end, though minor repair work can be undertaken for up to a year under the same contract.