Cheshire East Council has been allocated a total of £13 million from the government’s highways maintenance funding for next financial year, which includes £5.7 million for potholes.
This represents a drop of nearly £4 million, which is a 23% reduction compared with the current year. Furthermore, between 2016/17 and 2019/20 the level of funding was frozen at £12 million; the cumulative impact of that decision is now clear to everyone who uses the Cheshire East local road network.
Councillor Laura Crane, cabinet member for highways and waste said, “We work hard to maintain the roads in Cheshire East, but we can only do what is affordable based on available funding.
“This reduction in government money puts further pressure on the council’s budget and will limit next year’s maintenance programme, their announcement comes just six weeks ahead of the new financial year, so plans have already begun for works that we now find are unaffordable.
“We know how important the condition of our road network is to our residents and to road users, whether they be drivers, cyclists or bus passengers. Please let me reassure you that we will continue to do what we can with the resources we have available.”
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council said: “An assessment by our strategic highways team has shown that we need to be investing £27 million each year, just to keep the roads in their current state. So, the outcome of the DfT’s announcement, at £13 million, will inevitably be the further decline of our highways network.
“Our aim will always be to keep road users safe and we will always try to prioritise dangerous defects; however, until central government commits to provide an adequate level of funding, we will be unable to restore our road network to the condition that many residents reasonably expect.”