“Pot hole hell” in Devon will continue into next financial year

Ref shs 5896-04-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Ref shs 5896-04-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

More than a third of the roads listed for repair in Devon will not be fixed this financial year because of contractor delays, says councillor.

In total £3.2million was set a side for the 2017/18 Pothole Action Fund.

But, figures released by Devon County Council (DCC) show 80 schemes worth £800,000 will have to wait until 2018/19, allowing the ‘pothole hell’ in Devon to continue.

Among the roads on the list was Mill Street in Sidmouth, Bald Hill in Sidbury, Beech Walk in Honiton and a number of roads in Exmouth which includes - St Johns Road, Foxholes Hill, Stevenstone Road, Hamilton Road and Cranford Avenue.

Councillor Alan Connett, Devon’s Liberal Democrats opposition leader, said DCC set the programme of repairs so the expectation was that they would be done by now.

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He claimed that Devon’s road maintenance contractor, Skanska, was running so far behind the authority had no option but to delay one in every three repairs.

Cllr Connett said: “It’s astonishing that so much of the money earmarked for road repairs has yet to be spent. The pothole hell will unfortunately continue.”

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Cllr Stuart Hughes, who is responsible for Devon’s highway management, said there was no delay to the repair of potholes and that Skanska was actually delivering over £1million more work than originally planned.

He added: “DCC put extra funding into this financial year’s budget, specifically for rural road repairs. This work has to be completed by the end of March and is therefore the priority.”

Cllr Hughes said the Pothole Action Fund was not for urgent repairs and that the deferred works should be carried out in April or May.

Cllr Connett said he had been concerned about the ‘apparent lack of progress’ and that the authority was proposing to offer the contractor more work, before it had finished the last lot.

The news comes with the announcement that an extra £6.5million of funding will be used to repair Devon’s potholes.

Cllr Connett said: “Our concern is whether County Hall will be able to properly manage the extra cash.”

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