A FUNDING stalemate between two councils could see the Burton bollards remain out of use for the foreseeable future.
Rows over who will pay for the operation of the posts have been rumbling between Staffordshire County Council and East Staffordshire Borough Council for some months, with no agreement being reached.
The stand-off will come to a head today, when the previous contract comes to and end, meaning the bollards will stay down until a deal is reached.
The borough council has been operating the traffic calming measure free of charge since it was introduced in 2008, as part of its CCTV operation.
However, in an email seen by the Mail, the authority says it is no longer able to do so in the current economic climate.
“Over the last six months, we have been in discussions with county highways to negotiate an equitable contribution. So far, we have been unsuccessful, and the county has refused to make any payment,” the email said.
The CCTV operation related to operating the bollards has been estimated at around £30,000.
A spokesman from the council confirmed that a deal had not been reached, adding: “We are awaiting Staffordshire County Council to confirm whether they will contribute equitably to the borough’s CCTV operation or make their own arrangements.
“The bollards are not the borough’s and that it is only fair that county pay their way.”
But the county council has said quite simply that it is not prepared to shell out for the operation, as it is goes against the division of responsibility set up when the bollards were installed.
At the time, the county agreed to maintain the equipment, while the borough said it would operate it.
Councillor Mark Winnington said: “The absolute key priority for the county council is the safety of families shopping in the town.
“We have kept to our side of the deal and in a time when we all have to prioritise our budgets it is unacceptable to expect Staffordshire taxpayers to now pay extra, especially when town centre management is the responsibility of the borough council.”
The four rising bollards – at High Street and Station Street – aim to keep unauthorised vehicles out of the area.
They have been out of use for some time, as the council says it is awaiting a part to fix the posts after one of a large number of incidents when vehicles have been spiked.
A recent review into the safety of the system showed all these collisions had been caused by driver error.