Northumberland County Council pledges to eliminate potholes

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Grant Davey, told councillors during the budget meeting this week, that “we will eliminate potholes by June”

Labour group leader Grant Davey
Labour group leader Grant Davey

A North East council has pledged to eliminate potholes by the summer.

Northumberland County Council is to spend £600,000 to bring forward work repairing the roads across the county it emerged this week.

Leader of the council, Grant Davey, told councillors during the budget meeting this week, that “we will eliminate potholes by June”.

The council agreed to provide an extra £600,000 funding to accelerate the programme of pothole repairs across the county, saying it will bring the backlog under control by June 2014 – three months earlier than anticipated.

Coun Grant Davey said: “Despite the cuts there has been many positive achievements over the past nine months.

“We have been determined to tackle the damage caused to our road network by severe weather over recent years.

“This commitment of this administration to reducing the number of potholes should be welcomed by everyone who use the roads.”

But Coun Peter Jackson, leader of the Conservatives, labelled the promise “laughable”.

He said last night: “We are already in the middle of February and we still have two months of possible wet weather ahead of us so to make wild promises like that, it is just laughable.

“The intention has to be supported but you have to be realistic and put the resources in place to make a major structural change to the surface of our roads.”

He added: “If you are going to eliminate potholes in Northumberland what you would need is an investment programme of £100m to restore the crumbling roads, not just a few potholes.

“It is just papering over the problem.”

Coun Jeff Reid, leader of the Lib Dems, added: “He stood up and he said something that is undeliverable.

“It might be possible to get on top of the backlog but you are never going to be able to eliminate all potholes in Northumberland.

The council said their ability to deal with the thousands of potholes in the county is due to new technology with makes the process of filling the potholes quicker.

Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment at Northumberland County Council, said: “It was a few months ago that we got the equipment. It’s looking like we’re going to have everything cleared by the summer.”

A month ago Coun Swithenbank said there were 17,000 potholes in the county. That is now down to 12,500 which will be eliminated by the summer.

“We hope we will have cleared the backlog by June/July, well before Autumn,” he added.

“We will then just be dealing with them as they occur.

“The only long-term answer is long-term maintenance. We have to get a grip on this.”

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