Cheshire West and Chester’s roads in state of ‘managed decline’

Cheshire West and Chester’s roads are in a state of ‘managed decline’ a councillor claims to have been told, a revelation he branded ‘mindblowing’.

Conservative councillor for Hartford and Greenbank Martin Loftus said he contacted the Labour-run authority about his hopes the network would improve following the appointment of a new contractor.

But he said he received a response which stated the network was in “managed decline,” and that spending would be focussed on “preventative maintenance” to try and “slow the decline,” but that it “unfortunately could not be stopped”.

Cllr Loftus said, “This Labour council has cut the highways capital budget by more than half with catastrophic results which are plain for all to see. The thought that the roads are set to deteriorate even further is mind-blowing.

“The only glimmer of hope is that the Government have announced that, as a consequence of the decision to scrap HS2, Cheshire West will receive an additional £168m over the next seven years to fund new roads, road improvements/repairs, EV points, etc.

“I hope that this additional money will be put to good use and not tempt the Labour group to make further cuts to the highways capital budget.”

A council spokesman said its strategy was to effectively manage an “increasingly ageing network” and that the focus would be on preventative maintenance to reduce the risk of further deterioration. He said this would be up to five times cheaper than resurfacing and would extend the life of the carriageway, meaning a greater area could be covered.

He added, “The council is constantly monitoring 2,280km of carriageways and 2,648km of footways.

“There is a fully developed work bank for all structures that uses a green, amber, and red system to prioritise maintenance works. This feeds into a 50-year life-cycle plan to produce a detailed overview of the future maintenance requirements.”

He said that over the past year the council has spent £2m on repairing more than 11,000 potholes across the borough, and that £8.5m has been spent on wider carriageway and footway maintenance – which includes £3m of the council’s own money.

He added, “The council has received a commitment of £168,399,000 additional funding from the Department for Transport. The funding over seven years, starting in April 2025 is part of the £4.7b Local Transport Fund funding across the North and Midlands.

“Details of how this funding will be allocated hasn’t been shared, but it is expected that any transformational funding will not be available until towards the end of those seven years.”

Image: Cllr Loftus has hit out at the state of the borough’s roads

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