A WINDFALL of £3m to fix Oxfordshire’s potholes has been called “a drop in the ocean” as the county battles to repair its battered roads.

Last night the county council’s leader Ian Hudspeth said while it was grateful for the extra Government cash the money isn’t enough to provide a long-term solution.

He said: “This funding gives us the opportunity to do more patching rather than just filling in individual potholes, which means getting larger areas filled in.

“We would like to get capital funding to rebuild all the roads because some of them are historic and have been laid without proper foundations, which is what causes the potholes in the first place.

“This money means we can repair more potholes across the county, but we are going to work with the Government to get additional capital funding to do more work.”

Today’s announcement by the Department for Transport (Dft) that Oxfordshire County Council would get £3.1m from the £168m, is the second award after the winter floods, following £4.8m given in March as part of an emergency fund.

But Labour county councillor and transport spokesman John Sanders said: “Our roads have been allowed to deteriorate for decades and we need a much higher amount over many years to bring them back up to standard.

“Being able to fix a few extra potholes in Oxfordshire is something that we should obviously welcome, but this is just a drop in the ocean.

“The potholes are appearing faster than we can fix them. We need more money.”
The Government has claimed the cash will help fix around 58,000 potholes and the funding brings the total awarded by it to the council since March up to just over £7.8m.

Last year the council fixed about 38,000 potholes.

The authority said it plans to spend £13.178m of capital funding on carriageway schemes this year, as well as £4m on “reactive repairs”.

But it follows an Oxford Mail report in March, which revealed that the county council faces a funding black hole of more than £160m needed to fix all the holes and defects that exist on county roads.

Despite the large shortfall Ian Hudspeth, the leader of the county council, said the council was grateful for the funding and would put it “to the best use”.

Taxi driver and city councillor Saj Malik said the condition of Oxford’s roads is still poor despite money that has been granted.

He said: “The condition of the roads has become worse because if you come in from London Road every single day there is a new pothole.

“You do your best to avoid them, but in the last few weeks, I have had to change part of my front axle.

“It is a shame because we get so many tourists and does anyone want to go to a city full of potholes?”

Mr Hudspeth said the council’s officers will now decide where the money will be spent, with work likely to happen over the summer when the weather is dry.

All pothole repairs have to be completed by the end of next March.

  • To report potholes, call 0845 310 1111 or visit fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk
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