County Hall officials last month laid out their maintenance plans for the year ahead on the assumption that they would get a reduced £20.1m settlement from the Department for Transport for 2022/23. However, the authority learned just days beforehand that it would once again be handed the £28m that it was allocated last year.
Cabinet members have now approved a list of extra schemes to go with the 76 that they had already agreed.
(Scroll down for full list of new schemes).
Labour opposition group leader Azhar Ali welcomed the investment, but said that there were roads across the county that were now “absolutely shot” – and asked what the future was for streets that “keep getting missed off [the list of repairs] year after year”.
However, cabinet member for highways and transport Charlie Edwards defended the authority’s strategy for deciding which routes should be prioritised for work.
“All of the schemes that were put forward by individual [councillors], members of the public or by our own highways engineers…go through a ranking process and it’s done very much based on the evidence and the approach that we’ve got. The ones that met the criteria the most…were the ones [selected].
“I just think it’s really important that we stick to the methodology and a decision-making process where this is always the case. I think by following the evidence…you do end up with a much fairer system [compared to the one that] some authorities still sadly have which is whoever shouts the loudest gets their road done – and I think that’s an extremely inequitable way to run a department and it’s certainly not a professional way to run a local government organisation in the 21st century.”
He added that County Hall’s approach had once again seen it given the highest rating by the DfT for good use of its resources – meaning that its £28m maintenance fund allocation includes an extra £3.2m which was sent Lancashire’s way in recognition of how it spends its highways repair money.
“Everything that we spend is going to be to make sure that we get the absolute most that we possibly can for every part of Lancashire,” County Cllr Edwards said.
The county council’s budget for pre-planned repairs is largely in addition to that allocated for fixing structural defects that emerge during the year, should they meet the authority’s criteria. County Hall will attend to a carriageway pothole only if it is over 40mm deep.
Papers presented to the cabinet state that “actual expenditure will reflect operational demand” – with an expectation that £10m will be required for reactive repairs during 2022/23.
That total will be made up of £2m from the DfT’s highways maintenance grant, a further £2m for “responsive maintenance” agreed when the county council set its budget back in February and £6m either from other funding within the capital programme or, as a last resort, prudential borrowing.
Members were also told that a £3m local deterioration fund – which will cover the cost of some of the smaller-scale planned projects – will be topsliced to the tune of £1.3m to create a contingency pot to deal with any issues that emerge within the proposed programme or at other locations.
Lancashire’s long-term plan for keeping its roads in good condition is currently focusing its attention on unclassified, often residential, streets, having made main routes the priority during the first five years of the strategy from 2014.
WHAT’S HAPPENING WHERE?
All of the additional maintenance works planned, in the form: road name – county council division – nature and exact location of the work. (This list only includes the road being resurfaced in Burnley, Pendle, and Ribble Valley, not the rest of the county)
Arbories Avenue – Padiham and Burnley West – resurfacing full length
Lindsay Street – Burnley North East – resurfacing from Church Street to the end of the road
Brownhill Avenue – Burnley Central East – resurfacing from Brunshaw Road to Carholme Avenue
Springfield Road – Burnley Rural – resurfacing from Hollingreave Road to o Marlborough Street
A56 Skipton New Road – Pendle Rural – surface dressing from outside Green Fells House to new surfacing outside no.49 Bankhouse and from the new surfacing finish point at the 40mph sign to previous surface dressing finish point
Kirby Road – Brierfield and Nelson West – resurfacing from Churchill Way to outside no.14
Spring Street – Brierfield and Nelson West – resurfacing in Manchester Road area
Allendale Street – Pendle Central – resurfacing from Vincent Street to Lilac Street
Craven Street – Pendle Rural – resurfacing full length
Walverden Crescent – Nelson East – resurfacing full length
Railway Street – Nelson East – resurfacing from Waidshouse Road to the end of the road
Kings Causeway – Pendle Hill – resurfacing at junction with Halifax Road
Stone Edge Road – Pendle Hill – resurfacing from Mitton Avenue to Barnoldswick Road
Skipton Road – Pendle Rural – resurfacing and renewal of anti-skid surface on approaches to the mini roundabout
B6243 Edisford Road – Clitheroe – resurfacing from Roefield leisure centre entrance to lighting column 45
Lowmoor Way – Clitheroe – resurfacing from Union Street to High Street
Little Lane – Longridge with Bowland- resurfacing from Kestor Lane to Fell Brow
Ely Close – Ribble Valley South West – resurfacing full length
Lowmoor Way – Clitheroe – resurfacing from Union Street to Nelson Street
Barker Lane – Ribble Valley South West – resurfacing full length