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Extra £1 million for Road Maintenance Must Signal Start of 'Fight Back' Against Backlog of Repairs

January 28, 2009 2:31 PM
Pothole in road

After years of Tory neglect, the extra £1 million in the proposed budget for the new unitary council must signal the start of the 'fight back' against the backlog of repairs, say Bedford Borough Lib Dems

Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats have said that the extra £1 million in the proposed first budget of the unitary authority must signal the beginning of an essential 'fight back' against the massive backlog of repairs that has grown under the Tory-run County Council over several years.

Commenting on the issue, Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Implementation Executive Member Cllr Michael Headley said: "After years of neglect by the Tory County Council, the scale of the new unitary authority's task in repairing the Borough's streets is hard to overestimate. Potholed roads and crumbling footpaths are all too evident right across the Borough. Yet at the present rate of works, it will take decades before vital repairs are carried out on all streets. With the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists at stake, we simply cannot afford for it to take that long. That's why the extra £1 million that we have put into the budget must signal the start of the fight back against the Tories' massive backlog of repairs.'

"The additional funding should allow the unitary council to hit the ground running as it sets about this large but crucial task. The new council must be totally committed to making our roads safe for all users. After years of being badly let down by the Tory County Council, local residents deserve nothing less."

The extra £1 million for road and footpath repairs was added into the proposed Bedford Borough Council budget for 2009/10 as one of a series of Liberal Democrat proposals, including a freeze on parking charges for shoppers and protection of open spaces against unauthorised encampments, which are set to ensure that the budget will address real concerns of local residents. The authority's council tax increase will be remain within the proposed low level of 0.9%, with the Lib Dems' package of vital initiatives and funding boosts for essential services to be paid for by cutting back spending on council PR and ceremonial events and releasing unused council reserves.