Our pothole peril: danger on the roads of Helston
THE CONDITION of roads in Helston and the Lizard is becoming "dangerous" as highways budgets are "starved of funds", according to local council bosses.
Russell Peters, chairman of St Keverne Parish Council, and Helston deputy mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby were responding to figures obtained by the West Briton under the Freedom of Information Act from Cornwall Council, showing it has spent about £4 million patching and repairing more than 27,000 potholes since 2009.
Mr Radford-Gaby, a quantity surveyor, said too many repairs appeared to be temporary measures.
He added: "The highways budget has been starved of funds, but there needs to be a proactive approach to maintenance.
"Coinagehall Street is crumbling and their answer – fill in the potholes with cold Tarmac. It won't last. You can do a lot with £4 million if the job's done properly."
The authority said recent severe winters and floods have seen the number of repairs spiral, with it prioritising "principal routes".
Its former head of transportation, highways and environment, Councillor Graeme Hicks, claimed the highway network has been "robbed of funds" and needed major investment to get it up to standard.
This year the council expects to spend £35 million, across revenue and capital budgets, on highway maintenance – £18 million from government capital grants – excluding major road projects.
Mr Hicks, who is standing down at the May election, said as much as £100 million was needed to "bring the highways up to standard", especially "B and C roads which are suffering".
He even suggested the authority reconsider whether it should be responsible for maintaining "tracks leading to a single house".
Mr Peters added: "The potholes are dreadful, it is becoming more dangerous and potholes are getting bigger.
"Unless more is done our roads will become impassable. It is rural areas that will suffer more than urban areas.
"I've been a parish councillor for 49 years and I have never seen such lack of maintenance of our rural highways."
Cornwall councillor Andrew Wallis, for Porthleven and Helston, said he lost count of the number of times he had reported potholes, but was pleased with the council's response.
He said: "With the adverse weather it has been difficult and the highways budget has been stretched.
"I have seen streets resurfaced and potholes repaired quickly."
Turn to page 22/23 for a special report into the county's pothole misery.