In the last 12 months, Plymouth City Council shelled out over £1 million filling potholes. This is a massive figure, but amazingly it’s over twice what the council originally budgeted for the job and £300,000 more than the revised estimate of how much it’d spend on potholes that the council made in February.
Not only does the budget seem to be out of control, but the lion’s share of the cash has gone on temporarily patching up potholes rather than providing a permanent fix. Taxpayers paid £604,932 between April 2010 and the week ending March 27 2011 on 12,746 temporary fixes to potholes on city streets, and £442,845 on 2,712 permanent fixes.
Driving along Fort Austin Avenue in Eggbuckland on Sunday it was clear to me that there are still a great many potholes to be fixed – either temporarily or permanently. It was like being on a country track, not a city road.
It’s not just drivers who have to worry about potholes. Cyclists can suffer too, bus passengers can experience a seriously bumpy ride, and pedestrians can get splashed when a vehicle drives through a pothole filled with rainwater.
Thankfully at the end of March the council will have received its share – about £433,000 – of the Coalition Government’s £200 million fund set up to help councils fix their potholes. It’s because of the spending restraint being exercised elsewhere by the Coalition, of which the Lib Dems are a part, that this money can be found. I’d encourage the council to use this money wisely and put in place as many permanent fixes as possible.
The Conservative-run council needs to act before the ‘Pothole Plymouth’ label sticks for good.