Pothole Watch: Scarborough's road surfaces set to stay in sorry state as North Yorkshire County Council has funding cut

The surfaces of some of Scarborough’s main roads have started to look like patchwork quilts in recent years.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:45 am

While North Yorkshire County Council, the authority responsible for maintaining most of the town’s roads, has undertaken some major resurfacing schemes in the past year, such as Queen Street, Newborough and Eastborough, often potholes are simply patched over.

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Funding cuts

Green Lane was the most frequently named problem road by our readers. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Eric Broadbent, the borough mayor and a county councillor for Northstead division, which covers both Dean Road and Peasholm Drive, said he has continually asked the highways department to improve those roads.

He said: "The surface at Dean Road is terrible.

“I’ve been asking highways and I’ve complained myself and the response I get back is that there has been a 25 per cent reduction in spending on the roads.

“They’re not entertaining anything for Dean Road because whilst it doesn’t look good it is safe.”

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

The Department for Transport announced earlier this year that North Yorkshire would receive £37 million for roads maintenance, including £16.5 million for potholes for the 2021-22 financial year.

This represented a 25 per cent cut compared to the previous year.

Cllr Broadbent added: “They only have so much money a year and they have a priority list. They’re prepared to patch [the roads] but it should be a proper job. I can assure you we will keep at them.”

No 'magic money tree'

The facts and figures of road maintenance in North Yorkshire.

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said he thought the cuts from central government were a reflection of the difficulties government were having with the cost of Covid-19.

He said: “I think most people in the constituency realise we can’t spend money as if there’s a magic money tree.

“You can never have enough money to repair the roads, we can always do more but we have to work within our means.”

Wrong priorities

A pothole on Peasholm Drive. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

But Chrissy Douglas, a Scarborough resident, doesn’t think enough is being done.

She said: “As part of my job I visit people all over Scarborough on a daily basis so I get to see a lot of the roads.

“The roads are not smooth, they’re patched and patched and now they’re horrible to drive on.

“I’m not totally blaming the county council – they’re doing the best they can with what they’re given, which isn’t enough. But they aren’t prioritising areas which are really run down.”

Chrissy said it seemed to her the more deprived areas of town were not getting their roads repaired and the council seemed to instead be spending their money in tourist hotspots.

“They’ve just done Marine Drive but there are roads in a much worse state,” she added.

Councillor Eric Broadbent. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Cllr Broadbent said that Marine Drive, which was last resurfaced in 2017 as part of £600,000 improvements, had started to show signs of wear and tear.

The county council surface-dressed the road in June, a process that involves spraying bitumen – a sticky tar-like substance – before spreading stone chippings on top.

Cllr Broadbent added: “It’s a quick process, very cheap and buys five to six years.”

What do the county council say?

Barrie Mason, assistant director for highways and transportation at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We have a programme of planned maintenance schemes based on annual surveys of the whole road network.

“Through targeted planned maintenance schemes we look to extend the life of the highway through schemes such as surface dressing, resurfacing and full reconstruction schemes.

“Surface dressing is an extremely cost effective way of extending the life of the carriageway and has helped us to achieve a long-term trend of improving road condition coupled with additional investment through funding sources such as the Local Growth Fund and our own resources.”

However Chrissy Douglas believes the money should be spent elsewhere in the town.

“Sometimes it feels like my teeth are rattling along Over-dale,” she said. “It doesn’t need speed bumps, the road is in such a terrible state you can’t drive over 20mph anyway.

“There are also lines missing everywhere – I love where I live and I just think how is it going to attract people to move here?”

Mr Goodwill admitted that he receives a lot of complaints from constituents about potholes and road surfaces, which he puts to the county council.

But he added: “There’s no evidence that Scarborough isn’t getting it’s fair share of funding.”

Have your say on the state of Scarborough’s roads by emailing [email protected].

The road surface on Dean Road. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter