‘Disagreements’ are continuing about the level of services being delivered on the Isle of Wight, under the Highways PFI contract.
Isle of Wight Council leader, Cllr Phil Jordan, revealed on Wednesday at full council meeting that there were disagreements between the authority and its highways partner, Island Roads, about “the level of services being provided for the money they are paying.”
Prompted by Cllr Geoff Brodie, who asked whether Cllr Jordan thought Island Roads was performing to a standard the Island should be expecting, the council leader told members the authority was doing as much as it could, as quickly as it could, to ensure the Island was getting what it paid for.
The 25-year Highways PFI contract had been dubbed as the largest engineering project ever undertaken on the Island and started in 2013.
The contract is delivered by Island Roads and it is responsible for the maintenance and management of the public highway, footways and cycleways, including street sweeping, gulley cleansing and operating the CCTV network.
The initial seven-year core investment period was used to upgrade the ‘bulk’ of the Island’s roads but had to be extended as not all of the 14 ‘milestones’ were delivered in that timeframe.
Cllr Jordan said the last one should have been delivered by the end of March 2020 but was signed off in 2021 after issues were resolved. It was more than 15 months late.
The council leader had previously said the authority was “challenging where the standards are not being met” and was seeking legal advice.
Cllr Jordan said he could not go into further detail about it but it was not unusual in a contract of this complexity and diversity to seek legal clarification during the contract.
The contract is now in the remaining 18-year maintenance period which, despite delays to the core investment period, is supposed to still finish in 2038.