As many Cambridgeshire potholes are being repaired as they are reported
PUBLISHED: 10:33 24 October 2019
As many potholes are being repaired as are reported in Cambridgeshire, according to the chair of the county council's highways committee.
Cllr Mathew Shuter told Cambridgeshire County Council's general purposes committee on Tuesday (October 22) that the pothole repair figures are "now in balance, which is a situation that we have never really seen before".
He was responding to a question posed by Liberal Democrat councillor Nichola Harrison, who said the place and economy budget is used every year to make savings for the rest of the council's services.
She said: "it gives me no joy to note that as usual it is place and economy, that is to say amongst other things, the mending of potholes, the resurfacing of roads, subsidising of bus services and so on, which again and as always is funding the rest of the council.
"It's gone on every year that I know about, it will never stop perhaps, it's something the council needs to do probably".
She said budgets for things such as pothole repair are set at the beginning of the year and then used for other services.
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"I'm not unsympathetic for the reasons why this happens," she said, "but I do think for the sake of transparency that it is important that the public realises that this is the nature of what happens in budgeting".
The point was contested by both the chair of the highways and infrastructure committee, Conservative Cllr Shuter, and the leader of the council Steve Count.
A council officer said "there has not be a reduction in highway maintenance or bus subsidy" and added savings from that budget were "largely contractual savings".
Cllr Count said money allocated for potholes in the budget "stays there".
Addressing the issue of moving money out of the budget, Cllr Shuter said: "I don't recognise that whatsoever. The filling of potholes is largely in balance and is now much more efficient than it was two years ago."
He added: "There has been absolutely no reduction whatsoever, and in fact the increased performance throughout the highways service is commendable.
"I see the pothole figures every single week and they are now in balance, which is a situation that we have never really seen before.
"We have the same number roughly reported as we have filled every week."