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POTHOLES: £200m needed to bring Northampton road network up to perfect standard

Secretary of State for transport Patrick Mcloughlin in St David's Road, Kingsthorpe, talking to Michael Ellis about the state of the roads in Northamptonshire.

Secretary of State for transport Patrick Mcloughlin in St David's Road, Kingsthorpe, talking to Michael Ellis about the state of the roads in Northamptonshire.

A £200m national pothole repair fund will barely make a dent in fixing a ‘backlog’ of bumpy Northampton roads Labour leaders have claimed.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that local authorities would be able to apply for a share of the money to improve hole-riddled highways during his budget speech in March and said he was “fully expecting” Northampton’s bid for money to be successful.

But a report released last week by the county council showed £100m would be needed to fix the worst ‘red’ rated routes in the county alone and £224m would be needed to bring the entire network up to a ‘perfect’ standard.

Labour’s shadow cabinet member for transport, Councillor Winston Strachan (Lab, Castle), believes the county’s roads will continue to decline unless drastic funding is pumped into such a scheme.

He said: “It costs £20m to keep Northamptonshire’s roads in their current state, without even addressing the backlog of road maintenance, which equates to some £224m.

“Spending on road maintenance was just £15m in 2012/13, meaning the state of our roads is set to deteriorate further.”

Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden MP labelled the £200m fund ‘too little too late’ adding that the Govermnent’s reduction in roads spending had created a ‘pothole epidemic’.

The Coalition spent £920m on road maintenance between 2010 and 2011, compared to £779m in 2012-13.

But Northampton North MP Michael Ellis, who handed in a 1,200 name petition to Chancellor Osborne asking for more to be spent on repairs in the county, said Labour ‘can’t take the good news’.

“Of course it will make a dent, it will make a very significant improvement in Northampton,” he said.

Northamptonshire County Council has welcomed the extra funding for roads, but having spent £2.5m fixing 40,000 potholes last year, it says catching up on a £100m ‘backlog’ will be a continuing ‘challenge. A spokesperson said that the authority had moved away from ‘temporary maintenance’ and was now focusing on more ‘preventative’ re-surfacing work and semi-permanent repairs on highways defects, which had seen ‘good results’.

 

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