One of the positive actions taken by the present Council was its decision to delegate to local Ward Councillors a budget to be spent repairing local roads and footpaths.
The Councils main repairs budget – which is inadequate to maintain standards – is focused on the busiest highways.
Some sub-urban roads haven’t been resurfaced for over 60 years.
Against that background, local Councillors have found it increasingly difficult to justify to local residents the growing number of potholes and ruts often found on local roads.
In 2019, they were given a modest “pot” which could be used to address the worst of the complaints.
It has taken a long time for the programme to get going, but now a series of “decisions” on how the funding will be spent are finding their way on to the Councils web site.
It has to be said that the process is largely impenetrable with no central schemes list being updated (and viewable by residents).
The latest list of proposals covers several wards. The investment decisions are likely to be of more interest to local taxpayers than many more high profile issues which seem to exercise the Councils media relations team.
In Westfield, the local Councillors have opted to allocated £20,000 towards the repair of back lanes in the Beaconsfield Street, Milner Street and Gladstone Street area.
They are right to do so.
A resurfacing programme, which was started some 20 years ago, stalled leaving the lanes very uneven and with a patchwork appearance. The lanes are mostly paved with traditional setts. These are very hard wearing but hugely expensive to relay.
We suspect that the available budget will allow only the worst of the uneven stretches of lane to be resurfaced probably using a bitmac overlay.
One other consequence is likely to be that the poor condition of the main highways in the area will become more apparent. School Street has been a particular embarrassment for some years.
Hopefully more funding will be found for the resurfacing of minor roads in future years.