COLCHESTER’S High Steward has hit out at Essex County Council after 18 months of badgering the authority to replace a road sign.

Sir Bob Russell, the town’s former Lib Dem MP, has hit out at County Hall, saying Colchester has had a “lousy” service since its council relinquished control of the borough’s roads.

He said he has been badgering the authority for 18 months to replace the “No Right Turn” entry sign from North Station Road into Serpentine Walk in Colchester.

The missing sign led to Essex Police incorrectly stopping motorists inside Serpentine Walk to incorrectly tell them they had broken the law.

Following up on complaints from residents, Sir Bob reported the sign missing last year but received no response from County hall.

He wrote a letter and attended meetings, but still no action was taken.

Not giving up, Sir Bob submitted a Freedom Of Information request to Essex County Council asking for details of the Road Traffic Order which was in place.

Once officers responded he told them of the missing times section of the sign, leading to its eventual replacement.

Sir Bob said: “I am grateful to those who run the Freedom Of Information operation at County Hall for quickly achieving what Essex Highways had failed to do over the previous 18 months despite my raising this matter with them on several occasions – in writing, in person at a meeting, and in e-mails.

“It also shows that those in charge of highways, and councillors, are not doing their job.

“This situation would not have occurred if Colchester Council was still in charge of highways but since it was taken over by Essex County Council, who have privatised maintenance, Colchester now gets a lousy service.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council apologised for the delay in replacing the timings plate.

He added: “Some earlier reports were not very clear as to location and then our inspector may not have been fully aware of the Traffic Regulation Order specifying these times, as inspectors are trained to concentrate on safety-critical defects.

“We are developing an electronic system which will map all the relevant orders to the road, giving us an infinitely faster way of checking in future.”