A CALL has been made to use a special government grant to tackle all the potholes on Swindon’s roads.
Coun Julian Price (Lab, Covingham and Dorcan) wants £2m of the New Homes Bonus to be used to fix the problem, which he says is causing misery and costing money for the town’s drivers.
The council was given just over £5m by the government for building new homes and, while some of the money is being used, £3m of it has yet to be assigned.
However, the call for most of the remainder to be used on potholes has been dismissed as political posturing which will not solve the problem in the long term.
An amendment of the budget is due to be moved by the Labour Group at tonight’s council meeting to use most of the money for potholes.
Coun Price said: “Increasing numbers of potholes and roads in disrepair have come at a huge cost to Swindon Council and to motorists in Swindon, who have to deal with damage to their vehicles. “This is the number one issue that my constituents raise with me and with the recent bad weather the roads have only got worse.
“I want Swindon Council to be on the side of motorists and commit to investing millions of pounds extra into repairing the town’s roads. We believe this additional road resurfacing investment will save the council money in the future through fewer potholes on the roads.
“The New Homes Bonus is presently just sitting in the council coffers, arguably waiting to be spent by the Conservative administration on their next vanity project – like Wi-fi – and my proposal is a wholly more practical use for the money.”
The cabinet member for transport Coun Keith Williams, (Con, Shaw) believes £2m is too much to spend on something which would leave the council facing the same problems at a later date. He added that the council is already looking at ways of permanently dealing with any potholes.
Coun Williams said: “We have a thorough programme of regular road inspections to look for potholes. Simply throwing money at filling in the holes is only a short term solution as they soon re-appear. We are looking to implement a programme within six months which will see the surface properly fixed and solve the problem for good.”