North Yorkshire County Council’s highways executive member, Cllr Keane Duncan, highlighted the authority’s decision to focus its spending on other areas after hearing further complaints about the parlous state of roads.
The authority has recognised for more than a decade that it faces a road repairs backlog running into hundreds of millions of pounds and has responded by prioritising routes.
In response to recent complaints, Cllr Duncan, who represents Norton East, has started a tour of the county’s 89 electoral divisions.
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Ripon councillor Andrew Williams said Cllr Duncan should invite North Yorkshire’s MPs to join him on his “state of the roads tour”.
He said: “Pressure needs to be borne at Government level as well to increase the settlement to the county.”
Cllr Williams said some of the savings identified in local Government reorganisation should be used for the repair of roads, which was residents’ number one complaint. He added it would be of concern to residents that none of the council tax they paid was being used for highways maintenance.
He said: “I think they equate the council tax they are paying and the state of the roads. If we are identifying £67m of savings across the county, some of those need to be invested in our roads. ”
Scarborough councillor Tony Randerson said he had spent years pressing the council for some roads to be resurfaced, but ones in certain areas, such as Scarborough and Selby, appeared to be lower on the priority list to those in the Harrogate and Knaresborough.
He said: “Becoming a unitary authority is not going to be good for places like Scarborough and Selby, and Eastfield particularly, because it is difficult enough now to get the necessary services. What’s it going to be like when it becomes ruled through Northallerton?”
He said the state of the Overdale carriageway in Eastfield was “appalling, disgusting”, saying it had not been resurfaced for about 30 years.
Cllr Duncan said during the recent election campaigns, residents’ road maintenance concerns had been among the leading issues raised on the doorstep.
He said: “We have a network of 8,500km of surfaced road. Very roughly, with the budget we’ve got we can treat 300km annually, through a combination of surface dressing, resurfacing and reconstruction.”
He said the Government road repairs settlement for the county had been fixed at £40m for the next three years.
He said: “We currently do not supplement or support that £40m settlement with council taxpayer money. None of the council tax paid to North Yorkshire County Council goes into that road maintenance.
“Clearly, £40m this year will not deliver the same as what £40m would deliver in future years, so what I am trying to do is to ascertain – in a very difficult financial climate – what we can do to get the same bang for our buck in future years. as this year, and exploring those opportunities.”
The Scarborough News, helped by our readers, is keeping an eye on the potholes situation in town, and the response of the authorities, with our Pothole Watch campaign.
In March we asked, via Facebook, which road was the worst in Scarborough, and the clear winner among our readers was Green Lane. It is a nightmare for residents and a danger for motorists and cyclists.
Pothole Watch urges proper and permanent action for some of our worst road surfaces.