Sir – Prompted by two items in the Gazette on January 16, one regarding the state of pavements in Witney, the other about the lack of waterway dredging, I am writing to highlight the old adage that prevention is better than cure to our councillors who appear to have forgotten it.

In these austere times this philosophy makes even more sense.

Why not repair paving slabs rather than pay compensation claims and then repair the slabs after the event?

Why not promptly repair potholes rather than sending staff out simply to mark them up and then re-visit to repair? And why not repair them properly, rather than a bodge job so that they do not reappear in the next cold snap and need repairing again?

Why pay for expensive flood defences when regular and effective clearing and dredging of waterways would greatly reduce the risk of flooding?

Why mismanage valuable assets like the Langdale Hall and Corn Exchange, so that revenues from these assets do not cover the costs and hugely costly repairs are needed?

Langdale Hall, given some investment, could offer a decent venue for numerous events and generate significant revenue; the Corn Exchange has clearly been mismanaged for a number of years and I still don’t understand how the people responsible have got away with it, given the costs now faced. I know what my employer would do to me if I had been responsible for something like this.

Why not prevent litter through an ongoing campaign and providing more litter bins, rather than pay to clear up the mess it creates?

Why waste many years and millions of pounds on a relief road scheme that anyone with sense could see was never going to work?

Why not negotiate a sensible contract with developers so that any planning gain money does not have to be paid back if not spent by a certain date?

I could go on but I hope you get the point, particularly as all this is a waste of your money, assuming you pay your council tax.

We need people within our councils with vision and drive and who can employ joined-up thinking. I don’t see much evidence of this.

S Squire (Mr), Northfield Farm Lane, Witney