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Roads chiefs deny new pothole repair targets have been relaxed

Fed up councillors have asked where taxpayers' money is going

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Councillors Malcolm Pritchard, June Harrison and Joyce Plummer are unhappy with potholes on Haywood Road, Accrington

Highways chiefs have denied attempting to relax pothole repair targets through a new roadworks policy.

Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) leading Conservative group says it will prioritise which potholes to repair based on their depth and size.

It comes as Hyndburn has been allocated £115,000 for road repairs by county hall.

In a statement, LCC said: “The policy introduces a new target to fix potholes or other defects which are 15cm or greater in depth, and 30cm wide, within one working day – with five-day, 10-day and 20-day targets for ‘less serious’ problems.

“The council currently monitors its performance according to a target to repair potholes 4cm or more in depth within 20 working days.”

Coun John Fillis, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “The Conservative administration have now changed the measurement to the starting time from the day it’s identified by the inspector. Waiting for the pothole to be inspected could be a week or even two weeks and even longer.”

But LCC leader Geoff Driver replied: “We have always measured our performance on repairing potholes from the time they are reported by our own inspectors, or we receive a report from a member of the public.”

Hyndburn will receive the second lowest share in repair funding for pothole-ridden residential streets, new figures show.

The borough will get £115,000 out of a new £3m pot to restore ‘unclassified’ roads in Accrington, Oswaldtwistle and Church.

The hitlist has been drawn up following a series of workshops with county councillors in November and December last year.

The Hyndburn roads set to be repaired are:

l Arnold Street (full length), Accrington - £16,327

l Hornby Street (full length), Oswaldtwistle - £42,416

l Bridge Street (Blackburn Road to the end), Church - £56,493.

Funding for the scheme was approved at a county council cabinet meeting last week.

Hyndburn Road in Accrington has been scarred by potholes

The Observer reported last month how Hyndburn’s road repair budget this year is the lowest in Lancashire, with just £281,000 out of a £10.4 million pot.

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said the amount was ‘scandalous’, but the county council said their funding was based on an analysis of road surveys.

An Accrington councillor has asked why more of taxpayers’ money isn’t being spent on repairing “terrible” pothole-marked roads in Hyndburn.

Milnshaw councillor Malcolm Pritchard says Haywood Road, Claremont Road and Clifton Avenue are particularly badly affected in his ward.

He said: “The roads are very, very bad all over the place. Hyndburn Road from the McDonald’s to the traffic lights [at Asda] is also terrible. The potholes are very deep. People shouldn’t have to be diverting round potholes.”

He added: “We should be getting a better service because we pay enough council tax and it’s going to go up again this year. Where is all the money going?”

County Coun Keith Iddon, lead member for highways, said wet and freezing weather has led to a spike in problems.

He added: “We allocate funding for road repairs according to their condition on a countywide basis. We analyse data collected during road surveys to inform how we prioritise investment.

“This year we increased the budget for highway repairs by £5m and will be proposing to increase the budget by a further £5m in the budget to be considered by council this week.”