Poor condition of roads hits economy, says highways report

THE deteriorating state of Knutsford’s roads has been laid bare in official council documents released this week.

A Highways report forming part of Cheshire East Council’s cabinet agenda on Monday, November 12, acknowledged that the authority had ‘under-invested in highway maintenance over many years’ – in particular when the roads were looked after by Cheshire County Council.

Documents warned that the deterioration was speeding up and hampering the borough’s economic strength.

The report said under-investment had ‘resulted in a gradual but accelerating deterioration of the network, hindering the borough’s economy as well as failing to provide the street environment and level of service residents demand’.

The report also acknowledged the ‘large number of costly insurance claims resulting from tripping and slipping incidents’.

Cheshire East’s highways network is the council’s single biggest asset – valued at £236 million.

To arrest the decline, the council has outlined proposals to inject £3 million until the end of April 2013, then a further £20 million during the next two years.

Clr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East, told Knutsfordians at the town strategy meeting last week that the borough’s roads were not good enough.

“We have enough engineers in Cheshire East to do the work,” he said.

“We’ve filled in 21,000 potholes but the roads aren’t good enough and I will make sure we invest in them.”

But Independent Clr for Shavington, David Brickhill, said drivers would ‘not notice the difference £3m is going to make’ to the state of the road network.

“Money paid out on claims could have been used to keep good roads up to standard,” he said.

“But when the roads fall below par, insurance claims have to be paid.

“This diverts even more money away from the roads. So the vicious circle continues.”

n What do you think? Email james.wilson@guardiangrp.co.uk or write to Knutsford Guardian, Theatre Court, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5HB.

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