Inroads into clearing a £100m pothole backlog will never be made unless Northamptonshire is considered an ‘exceptional case’, a county highways chief has said.
This week we want Chronicle & Echo readers to send in pictures of the worst hole-riddled roads, lanes and streets in their area in order to highlight the extent of the problem in Northamptonshire.
Our appeal comes as the county council prepares its bid for a share of the £200m fund to repair the nation’s roads, announced by Chancellor George Osbourne in his budget speech last month.
However, experts say Northamptonshire alone would need £100m to bring all 4,000 kilometres of its highways up to scratch. It is only expecting to receive up to £5 million.
The county council’s cabinet member for highways, Councillor Michael Clarke, said the county should be eligible for extra Government funding as it was an ‘exceptional case’, being home to the highest concentration of logistics firms in Europe.
He said: “It is heavy goods vehicles that are the problem. While Northampton has a great thing going for it because we are the logistics capital of Europe, the twist is that our roads get an absolute hammering by these huge lorries bringing stuff all the way from Dover and the A14. I think we have a special case to argue to the Government.”
Councillor Clarke said in order to make a dent on the £100m backlog the county has, the Government could consider introducing a levy on foreign heavy goods vehicles at the border. The money raised from that could be ring- fenced to highway improvements, he said.
He added that he felt the situation in Northamptonshire had worsened through ‘decades of neglect’ with other services being prioritised over highways in previous administrations. From pictures sent to the Chron this week, the extent of the problem seems clear. Reader Simon Robinson sent us these snaps of Newport Road, in Spencer, saying: “I’ve reported these to the council several times but apparently they’re not bad enough to need fixing.”
Christy Sibbald sent pictures of Tudor Road, Kingsley and said: “While others have been filled, this still remains getting bigger and deeper.”
Potholes can be reported via the county council’s Street Doctor Service at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk