Hopes for repairs to Harrogate district’s quiet roads

Road works for 2015/16 to prioritise quieter roads in North Yorkshire. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Road works for 2015/16 to prioritise quieter roads in North Yorkshire. Picture: Gerard Binks.

About £38m has been set aside to repair roads across North Yorkshire in 2015/16, with quieter roads identified as a priority.

This has led to hopes that small but crucial roads in Nidderdale will soon have the repairs they urgently need.

For 2015/16 central government has allocated £29.65m to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to maintain the 9,000km of roads in the county - a rise of £9m on last year.

There is, however, an estimated £322m backlog of funds needed to maintain all the roads in North Yorkshire, and, to go some way to meeting the demand, NYCC is releasing about £8m of its reserves.

Nidderdale Chamber of Trade chair Keith Tordoff said this could be make a huge difference in Nidderdale and Pateley Bridge.

He said: “We rely on the tourist industry so it is important the roads are maintained.

“Certainly a lot of the smaller roads have been neglected. To be fair the council has to prioritise and it is difficult when you are balancing the books, but hopefully they will work on our roads.

“We pay our rates like anybody else, so lets see some investment in our roads. It would mean people view it as an area that is on the up, not going down.”

Lower Nidderdale Coun Christine Hill (Con) added: “Some of the roads are diabolical and the mish mash of repairs that have gone on over the last few years are what infuriate people.

“People in their cars have the problem of potholes and people without cars are marooned by public transport. Money from anywhere is what is needed and you have to wonder, are we that skint?”

NYCC executive member for highways Coun Gareth Dadd (Con) said that, although the government funding is more generous this year, it is still a long way off the £60m annual cost needed.

“Over the last 18 months we have been lobbying central government about the maintenance crisis facing the county’s roads,” he said.

“This year we have been very successful in attracting additional funding for North Yorkshire and I would like to believe that our lobbying has helped influence government thinking on this national increase in maintenance funding.

“We hope to have a total of about £38m available next year to repair the roads.”

The priority with maintenance has so far been to concentrate on the A and B roads, which are now in fairly good condition, according to Coun Dadd.

“But this has had an impact on the quieter roads and about one quarter of these, over 1,200km, now require maintenance.”

Earlier this year, NYCC announced a major programme of highway work to repair the impact of harsh winters on its highways network - one of the longest in England.

The programme, which will cost £50m and will take seven years to complete, is co-funded by the government and the council, and is in addition to the annual government maintenance funding.

The £29m of funding for 2015/16 is a firm settlement, while future funding is dependent on an incentive scheme rewarding best practice and efficiency.

This could be worth up to £25m over five years to NYCC and the authority will be working secure as much of this funding as possible.