PFI critic joins roads assessor team

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, January 30, 2014

 

A FIERCE critic of the Island’s multi-million pound highways PFI has signed up to be a 'mystery shopper’, assessing roadworks across the Isle of Wight.

Mike Starke is one of 15 newly-appointed 'lay assessors’ whose role it is to examine roadworks and assess them from the perspective of a member of the public.

They look at various aspects of work, including pedestrian and highway user safety, access around the site for residents, information supplied to residents, the work being done and the finished result, and report their findings to Island Roads and the Isle of Wight Council.

Mr Starke, who was a vocal opponent of the PFI, said: "I was happy to volunteer as a lay assessor as it offers an opportunity for Islanders to monitor first-hand the quality of work in progress and contractors’ handling of the inevitable disruption to traffic.

"There are vital elements in delivering on the pledge to give value for the public money committed to the repair and maintenance of the Island’s roads throughout the 25-year PFI project.

"After a series of comprehensive training sessions, I now feel equipped to provide an informed layman’s view of what can be seen as good practice on work sites, as well as where it is perceived improvements might be made.

"I hope this will contribute to the fulfilment of that promise of seeing we get the most out of the project in return for our major cash investment."

Paul Herbert, Island Roads service director, said lay assessors represented all ages and backgrounds, including drivers, cyclists, mobility impaired, pedestrians and public transport users.

He said: "As well as providing an independent view on how we are carrying out our work, the lay assessors will be an important link between Island Roads and residents."

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