AN EXTRA £2.5 million will be ploughed into repairing ugly potholes, divots and cracks in Worcestershire’s roads network, it emerged today.
The county council is preparing its’ biggest ever investment into highways after feedback from residents said it should be the biggest priority after social care.
The cash, which will last until 2015, is on top of the £3.2 million of funding from central Government for roads maintenance during the next two financial years.
During a meeting of the ruling Conservative cabinet politicians said the “biggest thing in the postbag” from residents is complaints over roads.
During surveys last year public satisfaction over the county’s highways was as low as 42 per cent despite multi-millions going on pothole repairs in recent years.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, said: “The people of the county have told us it was their second main priority so we will be making considerable investments on it.
“I certainly know in my division (Bredon) I get people contacting me all the time asking for repairs to certain roads and I know all members of this council get similar requests.”
Of the £2.5 million, £500,000 will go into the roads infrastructure budget straightaway, which helps towards the rolling maintenance programme across the county.
The remaining £2 million of taxpayers cash will be available for when councillors flag up roads or footpaths of concern from residents, meaning they will effectively be able to make bids for slices of the money.
There is also a pot of £11.7 million in the 2013/14 financial year for structural maintenance, such as bridge repairs.
Councillor John Smith, the cabinet member responsible for highways, said: “It will be a huge help to all 57 members of this council and I certainly support it.”
An additional £2 million will also be put to a pot for flooding alleviation work in Worcestershire.
The cabinet also agreed to approve a £331 million budget for the 2013/14 financial year today, which includes a council tax freeze for the third year in a row.
It will lead to cuts of over £20 million and is subject to approval by full council next Thursday, where it will go to the vote.
* For more on this story, see your Worcester News tomorrow.