More money needed to tackle Wrexham’s ‘disintegrating’ roads, says politician
More money is needed to arrest the decline of Wrexham’s ‘disintegrating’ roads, a politician has claimed.
A leading council officer recently revealed the backlog of repairs on the county borough’s transport network could total £50 million.
Meanwhile, cases have been highlighted where some surfaces are literally falling away in Holt.
At a recent meeting Darren Williams, the local authority’s chief officer for environment, said its annual budget for fixing potholes stood at around £2m as a result of dwindling central funding.
He said the figure was a third of the amount it had seven years ago, meaning staff often have to resort to temporary patching rather than permanent repairs.
One of Wrexham Council’s Plaid Cymru councillors has now called on the Welsh Government to provide more money to tackle the problem.
Cllr Carrier Harper said: “We have some stretches of road in the borough that are disintegrating and several substantial potholes that simply keep opening up despite many temporary repairs.
“I’m getting complaints from residents about the damage these are causing to cars, as well as safety concerns raised by cyclists.
“We all understand money is tight and that a decade of cuts have decimated the overall road maintenance budget.
“Funding is the root of the problem and we need to put pressure on the Labour Welsh Government to recognise the seriousness of the issue and to make it a priority going forward.”
Cllr Harper said one councillor previously raised an example where the same pothole had been filled 37 times.
She added it was evidence the council’s current approach is not sustainable.
Speaking last week, the authority’s environment portfolio holder defended its record on road repairs.
Cllr David A Bithell (Ind) felt the expectations of some residents and politicians were too high given the funding shortfall.
“Expectations of residents are really high and expectations of elected members are high,” he said.
“I think expectations across the county in the last 12 months have increased dramatically, despite all the cutbacks.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Local authorities are responsible for maintaining local roads and this is generally funded from core budgets, the majority of which are funded through the block grant they receive annually from the Welsh Government.
“However, in 2017-18 we committed an additional £30m investment to local authorities to maintain their relevant local roads network.
“We have also allocated £2.5m to assist local authorities in addressing the additional costs incurred as a result of severe winter conditions.
“We are now investing a further £60m over the next three years for councils to address problem areas and prevent deterioration of the local network.”