Devon’s pot hole hell to continue because of delays, says councillor

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 February 2018

Pot hole full of water

Pot hole full of water

Archant

More than a third of the roads listed for repair in Devon will not be fixed this financial year because of contractor delays, a councillor has claimed.

In total, £3.2million was set aside for the 2017/18 Pothole Action Fund.

But, figures released by Devon County Council (DCC) show 80 schemes worth £800,000 will have to wait until 2018/19, allowing the ‘pothole hell’ in Devon to continue.

Among the Exmouth roads on the list was St Johns Road, Foxholes Hill, Stevenstone Road, Hamilton Road and Cranford Avenue.

The other featured roads included Mill Street in Sidmouth, Bald Hill in Sidbury and Beech Walk in Honiton.

Councillor Alan Connett, Devon’s Liberal Democrats opposition leader, said DCC set the programme of repairs, so the expectation was that they would be done by now.

He claimed that Devon’s road maintenance contractor, Skanska, was running so far behind, the authority had no option but to delay one in every three repairs.

Mr Connett said: “It’s astonishing that so much of the money earmarked for road repairs has yet to be spent.

“The pothole hell will unfortunately continue.”

But Cllr Stuart Hughes, who is responsible for Devon’s highway management, said there was no delay to the repair of potholes and that Skanska was actually delivering more than £1million more work than originally planned.

He added: “DCC put extra funding into this financial year’s budget, specifically for rural road repairs.

“This work has to be completed by the end of March and is therefore the priority.”

Mr Hughes said the Pothole Action Fund cash was not available for urgent repairs and that the deferred works should be carried out in April or May.

Mr Connett said he had been concerned about the ‘apparent lack of progress’ and that the authority was proposing to offer the contractor more work, before it had finished the last lot.

The news comes with the announcement that an extra £6.5m of funding will be used to repair Devon’s potholes.

Mr Connett added: “Our concern is whether County Hall will be able to properly manage the extra cash.”

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