Posted: Wed 18th Nov 2020

Senior councillor calls for more money to repair Flintshire’s pothole-ridden roads

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2020

A senior councillor has called for more money to be made available to repair Flintshire’s pothole-ridden roads.

The annual cost of maintaining the county’s road surfaces in their current state is approximately £2.7m with a significant backlog of work previously reported.

Flintshire Council has set aside £600,000 to invest in highways during the next financial year.

A Welsh Government fund of £60m has also been helping local authorities across Wales to keep roads in their area up to scratch over the last three years.

However, with the time limit on the money set to come to an end, deputy council leader Carolyn Thomas urged her colleagues to consider increasing the authority’s own allocation to nearer £1m.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the ruling Labour cabinet held yesterday (Tuesday, 17 November), she said: “I am hoping that they (Welsh Government) will continue to fund highway repairs and maintenance and have been in touch yesterday with the leader of the Welsh Local Government Association.

“I know he is pressing for funding and we are hoping for more funding this year, but it is hugely important to all our residents that we do keep investing and we get rid of these potholes.

“I’d like to increase the amount as we’ve got it here as £600,000 when we need £2.7m a year to maintain them at their current state.”

The cabinet member for streetscene and countryside added: “We have invested significantly recently thanks to the extra money, but we don’t know if we’re getting it next year and I’d like to increase that level just in case.

“We’ve got a huge list of roads that need investing in all the time and when we look at the plan for this year, there’s always extra that we can’t fit in.”
The council has explored a number of solutions to tackle potholes in the county.

In January, recycled plastic was used to resurface a road in Connah’s Quay as part of an innovative trial, which was also designed to find a way to reuse items collected from residents’ bins which are difficult to recycle.

In response to Cllr Thomas’s request to increase funding for repairs, the authority’s chief executive Colin Everett said: “The best we can commit is we will look at what’s possible with flexibility.

“We are going to be heavily reliant on Welsh Government and they’ve got to make room for transport and road funding.

“If we can keep that under review, as we really understand that it’s a relatively low investment.”

But council leader Ian Roberts appeared surprised at the request from his deputy.

He said any calls for additional funding should be made in private rather than during a public meeting.

He pointed out that schools were also in urgent need of investment to deal with maintenance issues.

Cllr Roberts, who oversees Flintshire’s education portfolio, said: “I wasn’t aware that we were going to make budget pleas as part of today’s meeting actually but there we are.

“I feel I’ve got to mention now the school repairs budget because the school repairs budget is very oversubscribed.

“We’ve got toilets in a number of schools which are in desperate need of replacement.

“I do think if we’re going to consider council priorities for spending, we need to consider them holistically.

“There needs to be a discussion at informal cabinet rather than formal cabinet.”

Cabinet members agreed to stick to the £600,000 allocated for road repairs in its capital programme for next year, whilst asking the chief executive to explore options to provide more money if possible.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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