A new repair policy to tackle Lancashire’s escalating pothole crisis has been withdrawn by the county council amid claims it could endanger lives.
The ruling Conservative group sought to introduce key changes to the county’s highways pothole repair policy - particularly to the depth and diameter potholes must reach before repairs can begin.
But critics say the policy is now in tatters after it was decided it needed a rewrite.
County Coun John Fillis, deputy leader of the Labour group, claimed the Tories had also failed to spend £3m allocated for repairs in this year’s budget and had not given a direct allocation for £5m repair cash in the budget for 2018/19.
He said: “This is a chaotic situation. Their pothole policy is in tatters and now no one can find the money. What the people of Lancashire want is a clear statement of when the potholes will be filled.
Liberal Democrat leader Coun David Whipp detailed several concerns, citing the new rule that to qualify for a repair within a day potholes must be at least 150mm or more deep. He said: “If talking about a 150mm depth for what they call a one day repair, that’s putting people’s lives at risk.”
Both opposition parties asked for the policy to be ‘called in’ for scrutiny. The cabinet approved it on Feb. 1 subject to amendment on public reporting of potholes.
Council leader Coun Geoff Driver said: “We’ve rescinded the policy because it wasn’t clear.”
He said a clearer version would be produced and the extra £5m next year and the cash allocated this year would be spent on pothole repairs. He added this year's work had been delayed due to debate amongst all political parties over where exactly the cash should be spent.