Millions of pounds to improve Nottinghamshire roads approved

Plans to invest an extra £15 million to improve the state of Nottinghamshire’s roads have been approved by councillors.

By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:30 pm

Nottinghamshire Council will allocate the funding as it moves towards permanent solutions to road repairs and addresses more than 50 recommendations from its recent highways review.

The funding includes spending £12 million more over the next three years to double ‘patching teams’ from four to eight as it shifts towards a ‘right repair, right-first-time’ approach.

An additional £2m will be used to improve street lighting, with £1m to address ‘climate emergency’ issues.

Patching teams test new permanent road replacement methods, and, inset, Coun Neil Clarke.

It follows the cross-party highways review panel conducted last year to address what many councillors described as the ‘biggest issue on the doorstep’ in last May’s election.

The panel sought independent reviews from highways consultant WSP and the Local Government Association, with both organisations recommending the authority move away from temporary pothole fixes.

At present, the authority’s contractor Via East Midlands frequently uses Viafix. a form of asphalt repair which temporarily fills potholes when they are identified.

The authority now plans to scale back its use. but insists it will not be stopped completely and is needed when emergency pothole repairs emerge.

The changes include a shift to a three-year rather than a one-year investment plan, to give residents ‘clarity’ over when their roads will be repaired.

And it will also tackle pavements and smaller residential roads within the improvement plan.

Speaking before the funding was approved, Coun Neil Clarke, council transport and environment committee chairman, said: “It’s good news. The additional £15m shows the administration is delivering on manifesto commitments.

“For residents, the state of the roads is their priority and we listened.

“It’s doubling our patching teams, working hard to improve our roads and make them safer. It will make a major impact on vastly reducing Viafix repairs and changing the emphasis to long-term, permanent repairs.

“It will never eliminate those urgent repairs completely, because there will always be an emergency cropping up somewhere.”

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Amendments

Both the Labour Group and the Independent Alliance tabled amendments that would have altered how the funding is spent.

Labour’s amendment called for the £15m pot to only be used ‘subject to review and approval of proposals by members’. The group wanted any expenditure to be costed before the cash could be signed off.

The Independent Group’s amendment called for the funding to be “super-charged” and essentially doubled, by scrapping the planned £15.7m spending on new offices at Top Wighay Farm.

The group would then use the savings to give each district and borough an additional £2.1m to improve the state of roads.

Neither amendment won support from the ruling Conservatives..

Coun John Wilmott, of the Independent Alliance, said: The weather recently has decimated our roads with new potholes appearing all over the place.

“They have exposed the poor maintenance of our roads by the highways department; potholes are reappearing where they have just been repaired.”

But Coun Ben Bradley, council leader and Mansfield MP, backed the budget and said it is a ‘comprehensive plan of action’.

He said: “This will double our capacity to deliver better-quality, long-term repairs.

“It’s a proper, thought-out plan to deliver improvements over the long-term, not just shifting budgets around on a spreadsheet.”

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