Road gaffe cost to taxpayers

Entrance to Lomond Quarry
Entrance to Lomond Quarry

Failure by transportation officers to implement a road maintenance agreement has potentially lost tax payers thousands of pounds.

An agreement, as part of the planning consent, for the owner of Lomond Quarry to be allocated a proportion of road maintenance costs, based on damage caused by HGV vehicle use, is already in place.

But councillors at last week’s area committee learned transportation officials could not confirm whether a regular six-monthly inspection programme had been carried out, despite it being clearly defined in the planning agreement, which started in August 2012.

The oversight has potentially cost the public thousands of pounds of road improvement costs that could have been passed on.

Jim Birrell, Fife Council’s senior planning manager could only confirm that one inspection, undertaken in February of this year, had been completed and that no costs had been passed on to the developer.

However, he did confirm Lomond Quarry owners Skene Group had undertaken some carriage repair work of their own accord at the entrance to the quarry in recent months.

The blunder came to light when Fife Council’s roads management team delivered a progress report detailing road maintenance programme across the Glenrothes area.

It was then that questions were raised about inspections and the failure to proportion costs that Fife Council has instead picked up.

Councillor John Wincott, whose ward the roads are in, told the Gazette he was both “surprised and disappointed” that the officers had confirmed the road had not been surveyed and no apportionment of cost had been passed on.

“This road maintenance agreement is in place so that the Council does not pick up the tab for disproportionate wear from a developer’s HGV traffic,” said Cllr Wincott.

“The road has not been assessed for this maintenance agreement as set out in the planning agreement and this is just not good enough.

“The company seems to be perfectly willing to pay its fair share, the Council just have to ask.”

Fife Council has confirmed a new six-month inspection programme will now be implemented.