Lancashire TelegraphRivals fire potshots in East Lancashire pothole debate (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Rivals fire potshots in East Lancashire pothole debate

Lancashire Telegraph: Three of Blackburn's many potholes Three of Blackburn's many potholes

SENIOR councillors have clashed over road resurfacing cash as East Lancashire motorists face daily misery because of a “pothole epidemic” on local highways.

Blackburn with Darwen Tory spokesman Alan Cottam said borough Labour leaders diverted £750,000 earmarked for repairs for other purposes.

But council highways boss Dave Harling said his opposite number is simply “wrong”.

The row surfaced when councillors debated government spending cuts of £30 million over two years imposed on the council.

Coun Harling did welcome extra government grants of £334,000 in 2013 and £171,000 in 2014/15 for “additional highway maintenance works”.

But Coun Cottam said this was a sticking plaster to cover the fact that in 2012/2013 £750,000 earmarked for roadworks had been spent on other council services. The dispute comes after complaints that thousands of extra potholes had left Lancashire county and Blackburn with Darwen councils with facing millions of pounds in repair costs.

Coun Harling blamed “shrinking council budgets and a deteriorating network” for the shock rise.

Coun Cottam said: “Last year the council had £750,000 earmarked for road repairs and resurfacing which it diverted to other purposes blaming government cuts.

“To trumpet extra government cash as a solution to the pothole problem is a sticking plaster.

“If they had spent this £750,000 as they should have done in the first place, the problem would be nowhere near as bad.” Coun Harling said: “As part of the previous year's 25 per cent council cuts, the highway maintenance budget was reduced by around £750,000 at the start of 2011/12.

“I stress it was not spent elsewhere in the council.

“The council then re-invested £1m in response to the state of the roads and the harsh winter, boosted by Department of Transport funding as the Government recognised the problem nationally.

“If Coun Cottam is suggesting that we had £750,000 to spend on the roads and we failed to do so, then he is wrong.

“It is the result of his government's cuts that we had to reduce highway maintenance funding in the first place.”

Coun Cottam said: “The borough ruling Labour group have used the supplementary grant and not the base highways budget on the roads.

“Whatever Dave Harling says, they used it for something else.”

Comments (9)

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4:14pm Fri 8 Feb 13

mavrick says...

Now Now Councilor Cottam, like the u turn party you belong to, You have to face your own cuts. It might give you a small taste of the misery you have forced on the nation.
Now Now Councilor Cottam, like the u turn party you belong to, You have to face your own cuts. It might give you a small taste of the misery you have forced on the nation. mavrick
  • Score: 1

5:42pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Private I says...

Cllr Cottam is typical of local Tories. He & his colleagues never complained when the last Labour Government invested in much needed new schools, health centres & housing improvements in our area.

Now that their own Government is unfairly hitting areas like our & diverting money to leafy parts of the country he tries to blame the local Labour Council who appear to be trying their best to protect local people & local services despite having had huge amounts of money taken away.

Cottam, Lee & their Lib Dem mates Foster & Browne should hang their heads in shame and get onto their buddy Jake Berry and tell him for once to stand up for the people he's supposed to represent.
Cllr Cottam is typical of local Tories. He & his colleagues never complained when the last Labour Government invested in much needed new schools, health centres & housing improvements in our area. Now that their own Government is unfairly hitting areas like our & diverting money to leafy parts of the country he tries to blame the local Labour Council who appear to be trying their best to protect local people & local services despite having had huge amounts of money taken away. Cottam, Lee & their Lib Dem mates Foster & Browne should hang their heads in shame and get onto their buddy Jake Berry and tell him for once to stand up for the people he's supposed to represent. Private I
  • Score: 1

6:18pm Fri 8 Feb 13

shytalk says...

One of the potholes they just tried to repair in Clitheroe is now stuck to the tyre of a tipper truck.
One of the potholes they just tried to repair in Clitheroe is now stuck to the tyre of a tipper truck. shytalk
  • Score: 0

6:44pm Fri 8 Feb 13

ste.g says...

why as the council increased council tax when the government banned it?thats what you reporters should be asking
why as the council increased council tax when the government banned it?thats what you reporters should be asking ste.g
  • Score: 0

7:31pm Fri 8 Feb 13

2 for 5p says...

Breach of contract.
I pay road fund for the purpose of repairing roads.
to not do that is a breach of contract
Breach of contract. I pay road fund for the purpose of repairing roads. to not do that is a breach of contract 2 for 5p
  • Score: 0

12:56am Sat 9 Feb 13

s_smith says...

You do not have a contract with the council nor does your vehicle excise duty (road fund license has not existed for many years) pay for road repairs either.

The council has a duty to maintain the roads in a safe condition - that does NOT mean pothole free. They could - in theory - rake up the tarmac and return it to gravel and the road would still be regarded as safe as long as there were no deep ruts and one could travel along it.

The duty is a statutory duty which they are legally required to carry out. It does not form a contract with the end user.
You do not have a contract with the council nor does your vehicle excise duty (road fund license has not existed for many years) pay for road repairs either. The council has a duty to maintain the roads in a safe condition - that does NOT mean pothole free. They could - in theory - rake up the tarmac and return it to gravel and the road would still be regarded as safe as long as there were no deep ruts and one could travel along it. The duty is a statutory duty which they are legally required to carry out. It does not form a contract with the end user. s_smith
  • Score: 0

9:13am Sat 9 Feb 13

Char_donnay says...

Please do not continually refer to the work carried out as repairs. A repair should be action taken to permanently stop the hole reforming but what is actually happening is that Tarmac is thrown into the pothole with no preparation work and tamped down. Then a few months later the hole is there again, the contractors are on one of the best things going.
I've seen them on our road acting like children and and moving on in what was a ridiculously short space of time, six to nine months later they come back and fill the pothole again.
Please do not waste our money and do a proper job, right first time.
Please do not continually refer to the work carried out as repairs. A repair should be action taken to permanently stop the hole reforming but what is actually happening is that Tarmac is thrown into the pothole with no preparation work and tamped down. Then a few months later the hole is there again, the contractors are on one of the best things going. I've seen them on our road acting like children and and moving on in what was a ridiculously short space of time, six to nine months later they come back and fill the pothole again. Please do not waste our money and do a proper job, right first time. Char_donnay
  • Score: 0

6:06pm Sun 10 Feb 13

allan1957 says...

Why not go back to cobbled streets as for as know i potholes were never a problems when we had them
Why not go back to cobbled streets as for as know i potholes were never a problems when we had them allan1957
  • Score: 0

10:04pm Sun 10 Feb 13

Graham Hartley says...

I read the news today oh, boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire

from the words to a 1967 song by Lennon-McCartney
I read the news today oh, boy Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire from the words to a 1967 song by Lennon-McCartney Graham Hartley
  • Score: 0

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