£2m for Wakefield not enough to save "crumbling roads crisis"

North Avenue in Wakefield
North Avenue in Wakefield

A £2m government grant to repair potholes in Wakefield won't be enough to solve the "crumbling roads crisis", the district's transport chief has said.

Councillor Matthew Morley said the authority was grateful for the cash, which was Wakefield's share of a £420m national pot announced in the recent Budget.

More cash for roads was released in the recent Budget.

More cash for roads was released in the recent Budget.

But he added that one-off packages from the chancellor was not a long-term answer to the problem.

Figures revealed this week showed that potholes and road maintenance was the most common cause of complaint to Wakefield Council, with 191 made between April 2017 and March 2018.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday, Coun Morley said: "That money is in the bank and we thank government for the money. It will be used.

"But it is not a solution to the crumbling roads crisis which is hitting our country.

Coun Steve Tulley claimed some roads were being "washed away" by the wintry weather.

Coun Steve Tulley claimed some roads were being "washed away" by the wintry weather.

"One-off grants will not solve these problems and we need a proper sustainable funding stream so we can repair the roads around the country."

South Elmsall and South Kirkby councillor Steve Tulley told the meeting that the condition of roads was being made worse by unclean gullies and drains.

The complaints report published this week showed that more than 50 complaints were made about blocked gullies in the district over a 12 month period.

Coun Tulley said: "With the excessive weather we had yesterday (Tuesday), the amount of water running off roads which under normal circumstances would have gone down drains and gullies is washing a lot of our roads away.

Coun Matthew Morley, portfolio holder for transport.

Coun Matthew Morley, portfolio holder for transport.

"I accept it's about budgets, but I think this is something we need to build into our programme.

"Walking around my ward, I can't remember the last time I saw a gully clean. They're not done as regularly as they used to be.

"It's doing some damage that probably wouldn't be done if the gullies were clean and being run as they should."

In response, Coun Morley promised that repairing and cleaning gullies was a "high priority" and more money would be set aside for it.

He said: "I agree with everything you've just said.

"The problem we have across the district is a legacy of when we've had contractors working on the roads and sometimes a gully's been smashed and not repaired.

"It's not just gully cleansing, it's repairs as well.

"It's something I get asked about a lot in my ward."