CALLS for Basildon Council to break away from County Hall have intensified after figures revealed how the borough is “continually being ignored”.

Deputy council leader Kerry Smith raised concerns after a monthly round up sent to councillors revealed 400 pavements were fixed by Essex Highways during May, with just 46 of those in Basildon - about 11 per cent.

Mr Smith insisted there are thousands of pavements that need repairs in the borough.

And this has only added fuel to Basildon Council’s bid to become a unitary authority, with Mr Smith certain the authority would do a better job of caring for its own roads and pavements.

He said: “We are the biggest contributor to Essex in terms of taxes but we are always a second thought.

“In terms of council tax and business rates, Basildon puts more than £80 million into the council’s pots, but they have only spent £860,000 on Basildon’s roads. It is such a low percentage.

“This is just yet another reason why we need to become unitary, so we can take control of our roads and pavements and give them the attention they need.

“Obviously money will be a consideration, but we are talking about recovering from years of neglect.

“We are sick of the county council ignoring the needs of Basildon.”

Essex Highways pointed towards a new scheme urging county councillors to report defects.

A spokesman for Essex Highways, said: “We work very hard with the resources we have to keep all our pavements up to scratch, particularly those in areas which are heavily used. Defects can vary in severity – from small, superficial cracks, to something bigger and more significant.

“Understandably, these safety-critical defects are our priority and from January to May this year, highways crews have fixed 297 pavement defects in Basildon.

“We also recently launched a programme to encourage county councillors across Essex to use their local knowledge and report any issues with footways or pavements in their area.

“As part of the programme, five defects can be logged for urgent repair work. This extra investment means we will be able to improve areas where defects exist that aren’t safety-critical.”

A similar scheme exists for potholes, which has seen an extra 6,000 fixed.