“….due to long term under investment in both maintenance and renewals our assets have deteriorated and become very fragile. ..” Cllr Stuart Hughes.
Who is responsible for your deteriorating assets Stuart? The Tory austerity programmes 1.0 and 2.0 or the Conservative Council cutting corners? – Owl
“Don’t forget, all Devon county councillors are up for election in May 2025 . Maybe if they haven’t done something about the state of our roads by then it’s time to vote the lot of them out.” Huw Thomas, Bideford
Devon Live www.devonlive.com
The number of potholes on Devon’s roads is on the up. Devon County Council saw more potholes recorded by January 20 this year than it did in the whole of January last year.
The council blamed consecutive freezing temperatures and rain, “the worst possible combination for our roads”. They said: “We are doing all we can to maintain the network in the best possible condition to keep Devon moving.”
While in 2022, the number of potholes recorded each month was well below the five year average. “However due to long term under investment in both maintenance and renewals our assets have deteriorated and become very fragile. The winter weather this year has highlighted the fragility of the network,” an answer given by Cllr Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways, at Thursday’s Devon County Council meeting on the state of potholes said.
But one of our readers seems to have raised real concerns about the state of Devon’s roads The letter, sent into our sister print title the North Devon Journal, questions whether highways teams are even bothering trying to maintain the roads.
Read the full letter below
Do your readers think Devon County Council has given up trying to maintain our roads?
As more and more drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are finding out the hard way, the number and size of potholes in our roads seems to be expanding exponentially.
One Barnstaple resident, Graham Payne, has even set up a Facebook group to try and hold DCC to account.
The North Devon Pothole Community was only set up a few weeks ago but already has more than 1,000 members angry about the state of our roads.
I wrote to my county councillor about the general situation and a few specific examples around Bideford. I did get the good news that the “bottom half” of Manteo Way is to be resurfaced in April, though there is no date for repairs to the lower end of Clovelly Road.
I won’t hold my breath regarding Manteo Way either. That was due to be resurfaced previously but the work was postponed following budget cuts.
I realise DCC has many costs to juggle, including social care and education. But it also has a legal duty to maintain the safety of roads and pavements under the Highways Act 1980. Many would think DCC has not only failed in this duty but isn’t even really trying.
My councillor said the bad weather before Christmas had exacerbated the situation. This may be true but many of our roads have been in a dreadful, if not to say dangerous, state for years.
DCC does have a system for paying compensation to those whose cars have been damaged after hitting potholes but I’ve heard many stories of the excuses they find to avoid paying up.
I asked my councillor how many pothole damage claims DCC is facing and what this is costing the county (and its taxpayers). She said she didn’t have the information.
I could put in a Freedom Of Information request but she warned: “while highways officers are researching replies to your queries they are not getting on with the current work load”.
So, a bit of a Catch-22 situation. We can’t challenge the council because then their highways department will be able to achieve even less?
You’d think DCC would be fighting for more funding from national government. But when I raised this with my county councillor, she trotted out the tired excuse that when the Conservatives took power: “there was a note left for them saying that there was no money left”.
You’d think that after more than 13 years in power the Tories would stop blaming the lack of funding for county councils on how Labour coped with the worldwide financial crash of 2008. I seem to remember this was mainly caused by bankers, a number of whom later became Tory MPs and senior ministers.
Don’t forget, all Devon county councillors are up for election in May 2025 . Maybe if they haven’t done something about the state of our roads by then it’s time to vote the lot of them out.
Churchill Road, Bideford