Councillor hammers DRD over potholes

Cllr Mark Baxter draws attention to unrepaired potholes in the area.
Cllr Mark Baxter draws attention to unrepaired potholes in the area.

Rural roads are being let go to pot - or potholes - according to a local councillor.

DUP Councillor Mark Baxter has questioned the sharing out of funds by the Department for Regional Development.

His grievances with the DRD follow an increase in complaints about uncut grass verges and unrepaired potholes.

“We are all well aware of the economic pressures all statutory agencies are facing at the minute but I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by DRD,” Mr Baxter commented. “Not only have we 4ft high grass verges, now I’ve been informed that potholes with a depth less than four inches are not being repaired in urban areas. I was contacted by residents about a pothole at the entrance to Baird Avenue which is causing problems for motorists. I reported it, only to be given this bizarre information - I measured it and unfortunately it’s only three inches deep!”

Cllr Baxter criticised how funding had been handled by the Transport Minister, “Staff at Road Service locally are always very helpful and efficient, but it seems their hands are tied by this ludicrous directive from Mr Kennedy. Given that his department has overspent by £12million, it begs many questions as to how the department is managed. Surely the claims by motorists from damaged cars and tyres, etc, will outweigh the cost of patching potholes at busy junctions.”

A DRD spokesperson responded: “The Department for Regional Development is facing a £60 million Resource budgetary pressure for 2015/16, more than half of which is falling to TransportNI.

“This budget pressure has created an immediate impact on the delivery of routine maintenance services including patching.

“As a result, on roads carrying less than 500 vehicles per day (generally low traffic rural roads) defects exceeding the 20mm threshold cannot currently be repaired although they are being recorded for monitoring purposes of future repair, should sufficient funding become available”.