New area councils to get £100k each for pothole repairs

Potholes are a continual source of complaint for motorists in Northumberland. Picture by Jane Coltman
Potholes are a continual source of complaint for motorists in Northumberland. Picture by Jane Coltman

A new pilot scheme is being introduced by Northumberland County Council to give local areas more say on road improvements.

Extra funding of £500,000 has been allocated for a new Northumberland Local Pothole Fund, on top of the £20million already being spent county-wide through this year’s Local Transport Plan capital programme.

The five local area councils are each being allocated £100,000, with members of each area council invited to submit suggestions on their priorities for permanent repair of key areas suffering from repeat pothole failure or localised drainage issues.

The money is being allocated from some of the additional funding from the Government through its National Productivity Investment Fund - to help local authorities improve their highway infrastructure.

The deadline for the first round of submissions is the middle of August and, once received, the identified locations will be inspected and assessed to identify the work needed and the potential cost.

At this first stage, councillors can submit a maximum of three locations per ward for consideration. It is intended that two further rounds of submissions will be invited later in the year, depending on expenditure as repairs progress.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: "Keeping our 3,000 miles of roads in good condition is a priority for us and this scheme is an excellent way for local areas to identify key locations for improvement. Local councillors know their own roads extremely well and where the issues are, and we are committed to more decision making at a local level through our new local area councils.

"While we expect works will be carried out at the majority of locations put forward, our area managers will need to consider whether the scale and cost of the repair is appropriate for funding from this programme. It could be the location is already earmarked for other planned maintenance works or would be better referred for consideration for repair through other larger capital maintenance programmes.

"Either way, the pilot scheme will ensure areas of concern are being flagged at both a county and local level and long-standing issues with potholes and road surfaces corrected in a timely manner."