Northumberland County Council has been warned there can be no further ‘excuses or delays’ in resolving the county’s pothole problem after new figures revealed the backlog now stands at more than 6,500.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative parliamentary candidate, has criticised the current backlog of potholes, which has been revealed in the wake of the recent announcement of a £90million investment from central Government to tackle the issue.
She also pointed out that, early last year, council leader Grant Davey announced the council would spend £600,000 to eliminate the pothole backlog, estimated at 12,500, by June and then claimed it had been cleared.
However, new figures revealed this week, received following a Freedom of Information request, show the outstanding figure to be 6,600.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “It is abundantly clear that, despite the council leader’s pledge to clear the backlog of potholes last year, there is still a significant problem.
“Northumberland has received the largest slice of the pothole repair money from the Government to the tune of £91million, after a lack of investment in the region under previous governments, so there can be no more excuses, delays or attempts to make out that the situation has been resolved from the Labour-led administration.”
Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “As with many local authorities, Northumberland County Council has seen its road network deteriorate over the past few years, mainly due to long-term underinvestment, exacerbated by a series of severe weather events.
“The council recognises the importance of maintaining this network and has, over the past two years, invested heavily in additional resources to help tackle the issue.
“During this time, we have repaired over 40,000 potholes and recently topped the poll in the ‘most improved county council’ category in the Highways and Transportation public satisfaction survey 2014. We are currently carrying out more work on the county’s highways than we have seen for many years.
“The council is pleased that the Government has recognised this funding gap and it will provide a welcome boost to the roads budget in 2015/16.”