An extra £7.5 million each year for the next three years will be spent on repairing more potholes across Hampshire under new plans outlined by the County Council Leader, Councillor Rob Humby this week.
At the meeting of the Authority’s Cabinet (13 June), Councillor Humby announced the Council’s firm commitment to deliver stronger roads for Hampshire, amid recent lobbying of the Prime Minister together with four other neighbouring south-east highways authorities for more Government investment to maintain the region’s road network in the longer term.
Councillor Rob Humby, Leader of the County Council, said: “Anyone using roads in Hampshire and elsewhere will be fully aware of the impact of sustained severe weather on our highway network. We are currently fixing record numbers of potholes and road defects – currently around 1,000 repairs every week – but it’s still not enough to keep up with the number of defects on Hampshire’s 5,500 miles of roads.
“In the short term, we have been considering what we can do locally to ensure we have stronger roads for today, and I am pleased to announce that I will be bringing forward a proposal in July to add a further £7.5 million every year, over the next three years, to the County Council’s highways budget which will change the focus of our road maintenance activity on a day-to-day basis. This sum will enable us to significantly boost the number of potholes and other road problems that we can fix in the coming months and years. Our Hampshire Highways service, alongside our contractor, Milestone, will now develop the details of how this additional funding will be put to good use.
“Our firm commitment to fixing the roads will address the demand for action right now, but it does mean rebalancing the highways budget to scale back how much we spend on the larger planned maintenance activity which seeks to prevent potholes forming in the first place. This is not a decision we take lightly, but it reflects the national picture of sustained underfunding which has led to a decline in road conditions across England.”
“Despite extra money awarded to the County Council by Government earlier this year, to mend potholes, unprecedented levels of damage combined with soaring costs, means that current funding levels are simply not enough. We are not alone in facing this considerable challenge. The cost of repairing roads has risen steeply in recent years, but local authority highways teams in England are estimated to have only received around two-thirds of what they need from the Department of Transport to maintain local roads. Around £14 billion, or £68,000 for every mile of local road nationally, is now needed to fix the backlog of repairs.
“Together with the Leaders of four neighbouring County Councils in Kent, Surrey, West and East Sussex, we have written to the Prime Minister in recent weeks to make the case for adequate resourcing so that we can properly maintain and manage our roads to a standard that our residents rightly demand, and that can effectively support our shared economic and safety aspirations.”
Councillor Nick Adams-King, Cabinet Member for roads and transport, added: “As part of these new proposals, we have asked the County Council’s contractors to relook at how we programme repairs so that when a single repair is made, smaller ones nearby are also filled at the same time. Currently, repair gangs are being asked to focus on the defects that pose the biggest risk, but under our new approach we want to empower and equip teams to fill more potholes in a single visit and help deliver stronger roads today.”
The County Council currently spends around £13.5 million on reactive pothole and road defect repairs each year. Under the new proposal, funding would increase by £7.5 million starting in this financial year and across 24/25 and 25/26. Excluding one-off grants from the Department for Transport and other temporary budget adjustments, this will mean a core annual budget specifically for reactive highway repairs of around £21m through to spring 2026.
The proposal for additional funding will be formally considered by the County Council’s Cabinet and Full Council meetings in July.