Cash available to clear pothole backlog

Potholes, Northumberland
Potholes, Northumberland

More than £600,000 is to be spent filling in potholes around the county.

As part of their 2014/15 budget, Northumberland County Council has earmarked the cash to help clear the backlog of potholes in roads around the country, standing at an estimated 12,200.

Labour members say that when they took over last year, they were shocked to see a backlog of 35,247 potholes on the county’s 3,186 miles of roads and 1,875 miles of footpaths.

They have now set aside the £600,000 to repair the remaining potholes by June after it was identified as one of the top priorities by residents.

Council leader Coun Grant Davey said: “Our first budget is set against the backdrop of a severe cuts package by a ConDem government that seems to be determined to hammer Northumberland.

“While we’ve got to find £32.5m worth of cuts, we think that we can save money by tackling the scandalous ‘pothole black hole’ left by the previous Lib Dem administration.

“By dealing with over 12,000 pot holes by June, we think we can reduce the liability of the council for damages caused by the holes.”

Coun Ian Swithenbank, executive member for highways, said: “We’ll be adding capacity to our highways operation to enable our staff to tackle the backlog and get on top of a problem that our residents tell us is important to them.

“We’ll be investing around £600,000 because we think that it saves money in the long run and we’ll be able to reduce our liability on potential insurance pay outs.”