August 1 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Friday, June 20, 2014
Suffolk County Council will have to provide a monthly update on how many potholes it has fixed as part of a £2.9million deal for roads cash announced today.
The Government claims the cash grant could fix 55,000 holes on our roads – although the council said there were not nearly that many, and it will be able to spend the multi-million pound grant on other road repairs.
It comes after it emerged that damage caused by potholes on the region’s roads has seen councils fork out thousands of pounds in compensation.
If local authorities cannot keep up with the huge repair bill to mend cracked roads after each winter, then they face claims from road users whose vehicles have been damaged. Suffolk paid out £61,344 from 2009/10 to 2013/14, which includes its own legal fees.
Councils were invited to apply to the Government for a share of £168m.
All councils got something, but a greater share has gone to “model authorities” which were able to demonstrate they were the best at highways maintenance.
Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads, transport and planning, said: “Suffolk County Council bid for this extra investment because we recognise that improving the state of the county’s roads is a top issue for residents and business owners, as it is for us.
“Whilst the Government has suggested that this funding could fix as many as 55,000 potholes, in reality there are nowhere near that many in Suffolk. This is just an indicative figure to show the scale of what can be achieved with this funding.
“We intend to use this funding to target specifically roads with lots of defects – which have either had temporary repairs or will soon need work done.
“Using the funding in this way, we will be able to do good quality, long-lasting, repairs.”
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding announced today is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace.”
All repair work will have to be completed by end March 2015, and all the local authorities who are awarded funding will have to pledge to use the money to help repair potholes or to ensure that they do not appear in the first place.
They also have to produce a monthly update on what they have done with the cash.