Pothole repair

A £5.799m government grant for potholes is welcome but “will not even begin to scratch the surface” of the £180m backlog of repair work, Cheshire East’s deputy leader said.

Cllr Craig Browne said Government funding to Cheshire East for road repairs has remained largely static over the last decade.

“During that time our backlog of repairs which needs to be carried out but which for no funding is available, has increased to £180m,” he said.

“This is why we joined the Fix Our Funds to Fix Our Potholes Campaign and is also why, as a council, we decided to borrow £19m to invest in repairs over the next three years.”

Macclesfield councillor Ashley Farrall asked the council to look at its methods of pothole repairs.

“[Emergency repairs] are done and they don’t barely last a day, so it’s fine getting the money in – but it’s important that we get value for that money through our contract provider and we hold them to account,” he said.

He welcomed the fact the highways committee had appointed an independent quality assurance officer to review the work done by the contractors “so they’re no longer marking their own homework, as it were, for a 15-year contract provided to them in 2018”.

Conservative group leader Janet Clowes, a cabinet member in the former Tory administration when the 15-year contract was awarded, said: “As far as I’m aware, the 2018 15-year contract for our highway services does come with opt out clauses and so, consequently, if we are dissatisfied, or if our quality assurance officer highlights an ongoing chronic problem with standards, then I would like to see those opt out clauses applied.”

She also said she had reported 10 potholes to the council resulting from work associated with utility companies and wanted to know what money the council received from such companies for “substandard” work they do.

Cllr Browne said efforts are being made “at a very senior officer level” to improve relationships between the council and the utility companies.

With regard to the quality of repairs and the council’s long term contract, he said: “The quality assurance officer is a really, really important appointment to the council because if those opt out clauses that Cllr Clowes alluded to are to be triggered, if indeed they need to be triggered, we must as a council have evidence to support that contractors are in breach of the agreement which is in place.”

Wilmslow councillor Mark Goldsmith pointed out the pothole problem was a national issue and urged people to contact their MPs about tackling the problem “once and for all”.

“I think collectively there is £10bn worth of potholes that needed repairing in the UK.

“That is only ever going to happen with government support,” he said.

Cheshire East’s highways service is responsible for the repairs and management of 2,700km of roads and 2,103km of footways, as well as the maintenance of bridges, street lighting, signage and 600km of cycleways.

It is the biggest council asset, valued at about £6.6bn.

One Comment

  1. Rosa Popham says:

    Roads are the councils responsibility, not the government, and maintenance of roads network should be financed from money received by residents through our council rate. Perhaps the council should look at start charging all public car park and not just a small number of them.

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