Pothole repairs cash fight promise

Coun Scott Benton with potholed road in Victoria Avenue, Clifton.
Coun Scott Benton with potholed road in Victoria Avenue, Clifton.

Brighouse councillors will fight to ensure the town and surrounding villages get a fair share of funds being made available to repair potholes and roads in 2015.

The investment amounts to £81 million a year - which is enough to fix around 1.5 million potholes across the region.

It is the first time councils have been given locked-in funding over this length of time, which will help them plan ahead and save money for the taxpayer.

Councillor Scott Benton (pictured) said: “In the Brighouse area, many of our roads are deteriorating and in need of repair.

“The condition of our road network is something that concerns people locally and so I’m sure that residents will be pleased to hear that we will receive over £20.5 million from the Government to go towards fixing potholes over the coming years.

“This money will supplement what the council already spends on road maintenance and is a real boost when budgets are being squeezed.

“Whilst no decisions have been made in relation to how the money will be spent across the borough, I will be working to ensure that Brighouse gets a fair share of the funds available,” said Coun Benton (Con, Brighouse).

The Department for Transport allocates funding to local authorities based on local need, so councils with larger highway networks receive more of the funding.

More than £4.7 billion will be shared between 115 councils, while a further £575 million will be available through a new challenge fund to help repair and maintain local highway infrastructure such as junctions, bridges and street lighting.

Geoff Willerton, Calderdale Council’s Head of Planning and Highways, said: “The Government money will contribute to our highway maintenance funding over the next six years.

“It will rise next year but will gradually fall below the current amount due to changes in the way the funding is calculated.

“We are looking at how the money can be spent to have maximum effect in Calderdale.”

It was also announced that £578 million has been set aside for an incentive fund scheme which will start in 2016 to reward councils who demonstrate they are delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users, particularly during the festive period as people travel to see family and friends.

“It is vital we have good quality roads. This government has already taken strong action by spending £1 billion more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous Parliament.

“This huge investment is part of our long term economic plan to ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st Century.”

Matthew Lugg, director of public services for Mouchel Infrastructure Services and advocate for the Highways Agency Efficiency Programme, said: “Councils who think about long term planning and how they work together to share their resources achieve greater economies of scale and keep the road surface in good repair, ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”