THE freezing start to the year has been blamed for the poor performance of Flintshire Council’s housing repairs service.

The council’s head of housing Clare Budden said the housing and property maintenance service had been hit hard by the arctic conditions that swept the nation earlier this year.

Ms Budden told members at County Hall: “We were hit hard by the very poor weather conditions, but despite the poor weather we were able to make sure that the most challenging repairs were dealt with, but that has had a knock on impact on the non-urgent repairs.”

The average time taken for workers to fix non-urgent repairs increased by three days to 63.77 days in the third quarter of the year.

But an additional 40 per cent of emergency repairs were dealt with bringing the average time down to 0.47 days compared to 0.65 in the second quarter of the year.

Ms Budden added: “We have had a very small reduction in the amount of non-urgent repairs completed, but quite a big increase in urgent repairs.

“Now we are through the bad weather we need to deal with this backlog.”

But members were furious that the service did not appear to be improving.

Cllr Alison Halford said: “For almost two years we have been trying to make improvements, but there’s still so much wrong and I almost feel that we have been wasting our time.

“We have been told over and over again that everything is improving, but it’s not.”

The backlog of work tickets awaiting authorisation continues to mount.

Cllr Bernie Attridge said: “We were told this backlog of tickets was in hand. We were told time and time again that this was a priority and it would be sorted, but it doesn’t look like that here.”

Ms Budden claimed there were a number of tickets in the backlog that did not need taking forward and said she had suggested carrying out an audit of the tickets and cancelling any that did not need to be followed up.