The Prime Minister has told the Chronicle & Echo he was ‘confident’ Northamptonshire County Council can deliver 62,000 pothole repairs with minimal disruption as part of a major road repair fund announced this week.
In an interview with the Chron, David Cameron officially unveiled the county’s slice of a £168m ring-fenced repair fund to help smooth a backlog of bumpy roads across the UK.
Northamptonshire is to receive £3.3m from the pot, first announced during the Government’s March budget speech.
But the rules of the fund require the work to be completed by March 2015, sparking fears the county could face a year of travel disruption while the repairs are made.
Mr Cameron told the Chron: “If you think how many roads there are in Northamptonshire, as long as we have good teams out there being properly co-ordinated with a clear plan, there shouldn’t be that much traffic disruption.”
As a condition of receiving the money, local authorities will be required to publish monthly progress updates on how many potholes have been repaired. Those not meeting targets will be punished, the Prime Minister said.
“There’s always this fear that this money will disappear into a black hole,” he added. “Authorities got the money on the basis of the plan they submitted to government and they have to report back to us on how they are delivering that plan. If you don’t deliver, you won’t get all the money.”
Northamptonshire County Council was one of 148 authorities to bid for a share of the funding and was one of only a handful to receive a ‘greater share’, as its method of pothole repairing was classed as an example of ‘best practice’.
The Prime Minister also praised Northampton North MP Michael Ellis for his ‘persistence’ in campaigning for road repair funds.