Potholes are biggest concern after freezing weather takes its toll on Grantham roads
A Grantham councillor says he is “frustrated and disappointed” after the Government cut funding for road repairs in the county.
Councillor Richard Davies says potholes in Grantham’s roads are the major concern of his constituents at this time of year, especially during this particularly cold and wet winter.
Coun Davies, who is executive member for highways and councillor for Grantham West division on Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The recent very wet and then very cold weather we had will have caused potholes to form more quickly on the roads.
“At this time of year, potholes are one of the concerns Grantham residents contact me about the most. Crews are out across South Kesteven and the rest of the county every day fixing defects on our roads to keep them safe.
“Last year the AA rated Lincolnshire County Council one of the top performing councils when it comes to road maintenance, repairing more roads than most other authorities across England.”
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Coun Davies urged residents and motorists to keep reporting potholes to the council through FixMyStreet and he said they would be repaired as soon as possible.
But in the latest round of Government funding for roads, the Department for Transport announced Lincolnshire would receive £12.3m less funding this year, compared to last.
The county’s capital maintenance grant for 2020/21 was £51m, compared to £38.7m for 2021/22, a reduction of almost a quarter.
Coun Davies added: “For such a vitally important service to be cut so drastically is frustrating and disappointing.
“We must receive more reports, requests and comments about our roads than about any other county council service.
“We operate as efficiently as we can, and ultimately the limit to how well we can maintain and improve our roads is based on how much money we can invest in it. This funding cut will mean less road resurfacing, fewer potholes filled, and more exacerbated motorists.
“I don’t want this to be the start of a worrying trend of cuts to our roads funding. Prevention is always better than the cure, and without adequate funding, there will be long-term consequences for the state of our roads, and huge investment needed to bring them back up to standard.”
In 2019/20, Lincolnshire County Council invested around £25,000 per mile in its road network, while London councils were able to afford an average of £62,000 per mile.
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, recommended that the council make up the entire £12.3m shortfall this year in its budget – providing an extra £2.3m on top of the current plans – but said the taxpayers of Lincolnshire should not be expected to cover indefinitely money which should go to road repairs that the Government holds from fuel duty.
He added: “Continuing to invest in Lincolnshire’s infrastructure would have been an ideal way to continue the Government’s agenda of ‘levelling up’ the county. But a roads funding reduction of nearly 25 per cent seems completely counterproductive and at odds with that manifesto promise.
“County councils like ours are usually dealt a raw deal compared to our counterparts in larger cities. Alongside other rural shire counties that have been affected by funding cuts like this, we’ll continue to lobby to reverse that trend and see a fairer funding model brought in that recognises the unique challenges a large county like ours faces.”