‘Adopt a pothole’ plea from council leader

Coun. Ken Hind.
Coun. Ken Hind.

“Adopt a pothole” is the message from a council leader who wants residents to lobby highways chiefs to ensure that every pothole in the borough is repaired.

Coun. Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “I’m inviting local residents to adopt a pothole and either report this on the county council’s website or phone in until every pothole is filled in. That way we will get more money in the future to deal with our extensive road network.”

Just one of the potholes - this one on Pendle Road in Clitheroe - that motorists are swerving to avoid.

Just one of the potholes - this one on Pendle Road in Clitheroe - that motorists are swerving to avoid.

His plea follows Burnley MP Julie Cooper branding the fact that 450% more was spent on roads in the Ribble Valley than in Burnley a disgrace.

Mrs Cooper made the comments after a graph was posted on social media by Burnley Council leader Mark Townsend which indicates that £1.4m has been spent on the Ribble Valley’s roads between April to December 2017 – more than in any other borough – by Lancashire County Council.

The graph indicates that only around £300,000 was spent on Burnley’s roads during the same period, and slightly less in Hyndburn.

Mrs Cooper is now demanding more money be spent on Burnley’s “shocking roads” and accused Lancashire County Council of neglecting the borough in favour of more affluent areas, like the Ribble Valley.

A pothole on Church Brow in Clitheroe.

A pothole on Church Brow in Clitheroe.

Responding to Mrs Cooper’s comments, Coun. Hind said: “The Ribble Valley is the biggest rural borough in Lancashire and has more roads than anywhere else.”

He added that he was sure funding on education and social care was far higher in Burnley than in the Ribble Valley.

“It’s a question of need and clearly this is an area where we have more roads so we have more repairs needed.

“You could fit the borough of Burnley into the Ribble Valley about six times over and if Mrs Cooper wants to come to the Ribble Valley I will personally conduct a tour for her across the moorland roads and the more isolated areas which need attention.”

Steve Rush, chairman of Clitheroe Residents’ Action Group, queried how the £1.4m had been spent.

“Many of Clitheroe’s roads are unsafe and in need of repair. Instead of wasting money on ridiculous road layouts on Henthorn Road and Woone Lane and doing unnecessary work to the Chatburn Road roundabout, LCC should be improving the standard of our roads and pavements efficiently.”

Borough and county councillor Ian Brown urged people to continue to report any potholes to the county council and added that only looking at a six month snapshot of highways spend is counterproductive as the figures refer to a specific spend on carriageways only.

Coun. Brown said he had a list of potholes that had been reported to him including one on Pendle Road and Church Brow in Clitheroe that were causing particular upset.

County Coun. Keith Iddon, lead member for highways and transport, said: “We allocate funding for road repairs according to their condition on a countywide basis rather than allocating a certain amount to each district.

“We analyse data collected during road surveys to inform how we prioritise investment and, in order to make our resources go further, focus on intervening at the right time with the right treatment.

“The system is working well across the county as the condition of our roads is gradually improving, with fewer defects being found in A, B and C roads.

“The wet and freezing weather we’ve experienced in the last few weeks has led to an increase in potholes, as is the case every winter, and our teams are working hard to repair them.

“As the weather improves there will be fewer potholes appearing. However, our immediate priority is to keep our roads in a safe condition and respond as quickly as we can to repair the winter potholes.

“This year we increased the budget for highway repairs by £5m and will be proposing to increase the budget by a further £5m in the budget to be considered by council.”

The council’s pothole repair policy was revised at a recent Cabinet meeting with priority now being given to roads which are used the most.

The policy introduces a new target to fix potholes or other defects which are 15cm or greater in depth, and 30cm wide, within one working day – with five-day, 10-day and 20-day targets for less serious problems.

“We have inspectors working year-round to check our roads are safe. Our repair gangs fix any defects found from this work as well as responding to reports from the public.

“Safety is always our top priority, and we already aim to respond quickly to serious defects and emergency situations.

“However the way we currently monitor performance does not reflect this risk-based approach, as the target we set ourselves is to repair all potholes within 20 working days. Whilst this is a good thing to achieve, it is also important that we prioritise the most serious defects and busiest roads and the revised policy makes this much clearer.”