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The highways and transportation service provided by Scarborough BC is fair and will probably improve, according to ...
The highways and transportation service provided by Scarborough BC is fair and will probably improve, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

The inspection team gave the service one star because it has a business plan with a clear mission statement and challenging service aims. However, weaknesses include concern among local businesses about short notice given for scheduled maintenance work which is likely to affect them.

Pat Thynne, commissioning inspector, said: 'The improvement plan addresses key issues such as service modernisation, service planning and service delivery over a three year period and builds on the improvements already being made through the gradual introduction of the Scarborough integrated transport strategy. There is widespread support for the plan from councillors and staff. However, the service still needs to prioritise projects and develop clear targets that will help it match the top performing councils within the next five years.'

The inspection report highlights a number of key strengths:

- The council took the controversial decision to introduce on-street parking charges. This is an essential part of the Scarborough integrated transport strategy and will help to fund future transport initiatives.

- The introduction of park and ride and on-street parking charges are having a positive effect on traffic flows within Scarborough town.

- The council works well in partnership with other agencies to tackle crime and disorder issues and to implement safety initiatives.

However, inspectors also found weaknesses:

- Environmental issues are considered in relation to new projects, but not for all maintenance work, including some aspects of winter maintenance.

- Local people are particularly concerned about the poor condition of footpaths and are not satisfied with various transport issues - including speed restrictions, parking, town centre traffic and pedestrian crossings. Footpath related insurance claims continue to increase.

- The service has no system in place to measure its performance over time or with other service providers.

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:

- As a priority, improve the legibility of road markings and the condition of footpaths to maximise safety for users.

- Consult with local people and other stakeholders and ensure they are kept informed about the standards of service they can expect, and are told in good time about planned work.

- Within the next six months, liaise with North Yorkshire CC to develop more effective working arrangements, including in relation to winter maintenance.

The highway and transportation service includes transport planning, traffic management and highway maintenance across the urban wards of Scarborough. This is carried out under a highway agency agreement with North Yorkshire CC. It also provides and maintains street and amenity lighting throughout the borough. The service costs about£2.35m a year and has 41 staff, plus additional specialists and contractors when required.

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