Maintenance: South Cambs saves money?

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 71.

Even the white line outside the cycle lane is obscured. This section was eventually swept in mid March.
Image as described adjacent

As a regular cyclist in South Cambridgeshire and the City of Cambridge I’ve noticed no recent signs of road sweeping on part of my journey. In fact it is so neglected at one point that even the white line marking out the cycle lane is obscured! And on wet days, huge pools of water stretch half way across the road as it can’t get to the gullies, even those that are not blocked. I’ve arrived home and had to tip the water out of my shoes after being drenched by a passing vehicle. At one point, just by a busy pedestrian crossing, pools of water are common as a gully is blocked. It is necessary to cycle almost to the middle of the road to avoid the pool, and I pity any pedestrian waiting when lorries pass.

I decided to ring South Cambridgeshire District Council to see if they had a policy regarding road sweeping and gully emptying, but even after 20 minutes, and several returns to the switchboard, I found no one who knew what a ‘gully’ was, let alone who could tell me what the policy was!

I decided that perhaps I should have looked at the website (, and soon found:

Mechanical sweeping schedule – Within village envelopes, all roads, kerbed and unkerbed, will be mechanically swept every two months, including around traffic islands, roundabouts, junctions etc. Outside village envelopes, kerbed sections only will be mechanically swept every six months.

Clearly this isn’t happening.

I also discovered that ‘road drains’-which I´ve always known as ‘gullies’-should be covered by the County Council. I’ve now had replies to my emails from both Cambridgeshire County and South Cambridgeshire District Councils, and I’m waiting to see what action follows.

For blocked gullies anywhere in the County contact Street Scene ( or 0845 045 5212)

Jim Chisholm