Nottinghamshire Council ‘open to ridicule’ over road condition figures

Council figures suggesting the majority of Nottinghamshire’s roads are in a good condition leave the county council ‘open to ridicule’, an opposition councillor has warned.

By Andrew Topping
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 8:25 am

However, the Conservative-led administration hit back at the claim and suggested the county’s roads are by ‘no means the worst’ in the country.

Nottinghamshire Council’s transport and environment committee reviewed documents suggesting 98 per cent of A-roads in the county are in a good state.

The figures also suggested 97 per cent of B and C roads are in the same condition, with 75 per cent of unclassified roads also assessed as being in a good state of repair.

Coun Tom Hollis with a pothole repair in Ashfield.

However, one opposition councillor questioned the figures and said, given longstanding issues with pothole repairs across Nottinghamshire, the figures would be ‘frankly confusing for residents’.

It came as councillors caught the first look at a three-year programme of investments into the county’s roads – a shift from the usual one-year plan to give residents ‘clarity’, following a cross-party highways review.

Coun Tom Hollis, Ashfield Independents member for Sutton West, said: “The figures contained in this report leave this council open to ridicule.

“To suggest [these figures is] frankly confusing for residents. If you don’t recognise the problem, how do you expect to fix it?

“Can I ask who undertakes the reviews of our roads and how far back do these figures go back? Do they precede storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin? I don’t need any analysis to tell me our highways are in the worst state ever.”

Assessment

Gary Wood, highways group manager, said the figures are the result of national assessments conducted by external surveyors undertaken in summer 2021, before any potential damage from winter storms.

He said: “The figures in the report come from national indicators and are based on national standards. They are not surveys undertaken by ourselves, but by external surveyors.

“They all have to be nationally accredited and the A, B and C road figures are based on machine surveys – a machine which goes over the road to take measurements.”

The highways review couples an additional £12 million investment from the council to double ‘patching gangs’ from four to eight across the county.

These gangs will shift the council’s focus away from temporary asphalt solution Viafix, with more roads to be permanently patched over and receive longer-term fixes.

Coun Neil Clarke, committee chairman hit back at the claim the county’s roads are in the worst state, saying the review and the £12m approved last month mean the authority now has work in place to ‘significantly improve’ Nottinghamshire’s roads and pavements.

He said: “It has been evidenced by various surveys that Nottinghamshire is by no means anywhere near like being the worst roads in the country.

“You will know through the highways panel how much we have now got in place, the improvements to actually work hard to significantly improve the state of roads in Nottinghamshire.”

Documents show the authority has budgeted £24.73m for its highways works in the coming year.

About £4.5m will be spent on maintenance to four A-roads, 10 B and C roads, and 21 unclassified roads.

An additional £1.6m will be spent on protective works to about 100 streets, with £1m earmarked for preventative works and street light improvements, £1.5m for footway works and £800,000 for drainage.