Tue, 15 May 2018
A SENIOR West Berkshire councillor has insisted that the local authority it is doing a good job of repairing potholes.
A total of 1,762 potholes were reported to the council between January 1 and March 31 – double the amount for the same period last year.
However, at a meeting last Thursday, Jeanette Clifford – the council’s executive member for highways and transport – said four times as many were being fixed.
She put that down to a dedicated team of six to eight officers who are “on permanent pothole duty”, together with additional government funding.
Mrs Clifford concluded by saying that there was “no doubt” that the roads in West Berkshire had “improved hugely” since the Conservatives took control of the council.
Responding to a question from opposition leader Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North), Mrs Clifford said: “I am sure you are going to point out, councillor Dillon, that it is a big number [1,762], and it is.
“It is about twice as many as were reported in the same period last year and there’s one inescapable reason for that and you will hear it up and down the county in every local authority whatever political hue – we have all endured the harshest winter for years.
“We have had snow, ice and an awful lot of rain.
“Perfect conditions for potholes to appear.
“And by the laws of physics that is just what they have done.
“But we are responding.
“In West Berkshire we are sorting potholes out.
“We might have had twice as many reported as last year, but we fixed four times as many as we did in this period last year.
“A pothole that is an immediate hazard is made safe within two hours of the time the repair is ordered.
“We will spend almost 50 per cent more on this sort of routine maintenance this year as we did last.
“We have six to eight officers on permanent pothole duty here in West Berkshire and they are working hard.”
Mrs Clifford went on to say: “We are full of ambition on potholes.
“People are noticing we are doing a pretty good job.
“We are not complacent and we’ve got more to do.
“Even though potholes are a bit of an obsession with me, as I think they may be with you, councillor Dillon, as you’ve asked me before, I have to tell you there is more to life than potholes.
“No matter how much some people huff and puff, there is no denying that the road condition in West Berkshire has improved hugely since the Conservatives took control of this council.
“One day, probably some time in the future, we might banish potholes from West Berkshire forever.
“I’m not sure what we will speak about then.”