E&E | Is Exeter’s allocation of pothole funding fair?

02 June 2016

Is Exeter’s allocation of pothole funding fair?

by Anita Merritt

A few of the over 200 potholes in Dorset Avenue

Concerns have been raised over the amount of pothole funding Exeter has received compared to other areas of the county.

In April, the Department of Transport announced a Pothole Action Fund to improve local roads and deliver better journeys.

Devon is receiving an extra £1,952,000 in 2016/17 from the fund, which includes roads and pavements.

However, the new figures which have revealed have been criticised by Rob Hannaford , Labour county councillor for Exwick and St Thoma , and a member of Exeter Highways Committee.

He said: “With the very poor state of many roads and pavements in Exeter, any new investment to help clear the massive backlog is welcome.

“However it’s a very real concern that the Exeter funding allocations are amongst the lowest across the county. I view this in the context of Exeter having the busiest most used roads, as opposed to all the other much less used rural residential roads in the country areas, as this is primarily about the non arterial routes.

“For example, all of Exeter’s nine county members gets £108,7222 , yet sparsely populated Holdsworthy, one county member, gets £99,979 , or Bideford South and Hartland, again one county member, gets £92,932.

“If you also look at another districts such as those county ward areas that make up the East Devon area, again their individual allocations per county ward are higher.

“I am sure that many local residents in Exeter who have been coping with bad roads and pavements for many years, who may have had damage to their vehicles, trips and falls, or fallen off bikes, will be very angry about all this, as this new budget was seen a chance to really get things moving forward.”

Pothole Action Fund Allocations
Alphington and Cowick ED £15,769
Ashburton and Buckfastleigh ED £27,926
Axminster ED £68,817
Barnstaple North ED £15,567
Barnstaple South ED £15,041
Bickleigh and Wembury ED £19,525
Bideford East ED £34,658
Bideford South and Hartland ED £92,932
Bovey Tracey Rural ED £39,723
Braunton Rural ED £24,752
Broadclyst and Whimple ED £35,269
Budleigh ED £21,795
Chudleigh Rural ED £37,018
Chulmleigh and Swimbridge ED £31,472
Combe Martin Rural ED £32,331
Crediton Rural ED £29,041
Cullompton Rural ED £29,971
Dartmouth and Kingswear ED £16,055
Dawlish ED £17,747
Duryard and Pennsylvania ED £14,854
Exminster and Kenton ED £28,459
Exmouth Brixington and Withycombe ED £14,704
Exmouth Halsdon and Woodbury ED £17,120
Exmouth Littleham and Town ED £17,311
Exwick and St. Thomas ED £15,803
Fremington Rural ED £16,238
Hatherleigh and Chagford ED £47,400
Heavitree and Whipton and Barton ED £16,051
Holsworthy Rural ED £99,979
Honiton St. Michael’s ED £37,858
Honiton St. Paul’s ED £57,242
Ilfracombe ED £15,116
Ivybridge ED £15,267
Kingsbridge and Stokenham ED £15,567
Kingsteignton ED £15,330
Newton Abbot North ED £16,205
Newton Abbot South ED £15,934
Newton St. Cyres and Sandford ED £68,956
Newtown and Polsloe ED £15,004
Northam ED £18,077
Okehampton Rural ED £33,933
Ottery St. Mary Rural ED £41,918
Pinhoe and Mincinglake ED £15,653
Priory and St. Leonard’s ED £14,880
Seaton Coastal ED £32,301
Sidmouth Sidford ED £15,447
South Brent and Dartington ED £32,350
South Molton Rural ED £55,793
St David’s and St. James ED £14,704
St Loyes and Topsham ED £15,912
Tavistock ED £15,267
Teign Estuary ED £19,000
Teignbridge South ED £29,029
Teignmouth ED £17,469
Thurlestone, Salcombe and Allington ED £19,424
Tiverton East ED £31,738
Tiverton West ED £22,497
Torrington Rural ED £69,117
Totnes Rural ED £22,962
Willand and Uffculme ED £52,518
Yealmpton ED £23,885
Yelverton Rural ED £20,317

Pulling my finger out about the potholes around Cowick

I’ve been contacted by a a resident about a number of issues, including the number of potholes around the ward.

The roads around here, notably Somerset Avenue, Sussex Close & Dorset Avenue are an absolute disgrace. 

They a patchwork quilt of potholes, some of which have been bodged up but a lot of them have been left untouched.

This is what we have been doing about the potholes

As ever, this is a Devon County Council issues, in their remit as Highways Authority.

Throughout the county, Devon are budgeting for £35m a year for road resurfacing – unfortunately it costs £65m to keep them in the current – appalling – state.

Nothing I can say or do can change that decision.

But I am working with my colleagues to draw attention to state of the roads in Cowick.

I’m not sure if you saw any of the articles in the Express & Echo but we recently ran a petition about the condition of Dorset Avenue – I counted over 200 potholes along the entire length.

That petition was presented to Full Council in December, and we are now waiting for a response from DCC. I will admit I am not hopeful of a good outcome. But I have other measures up my sleeve to take this further.

It’s not as favouritism that we were focussing on Dorset Avenue, but because of the vast number of potholes. Be assured that  we are aware that all roads throughout the ward are, similiarly, in a terrible state of repair.

So although many roads are in desperate need of a resurface, as it stands at present DCC will only tackle what are described as ‘safety defects’ – 40mm deep (that’s the size of a golf ball) and at least 30cm long in one direction, leading to the patchwork you describe.

I will continue to walk around Cowick with my trusty golf ball and  point out to DCC when I believe a pothole is big enough to be a ‘safety defect’.