Potholes cash only scratches surface of problem

HOLE LOT OF TROUBLE ... residents in Rothbury Avenue give the thumbs up to their new road surface.
HOLE LOT OF TROUBLE ... residents in Rothbury Avenue give the thumbs up to their new road surface.

IT’S official – potholes are driving us potty.

South Tyneside Council is set to fill in 4,000 potholes after being given £224,000 from the government to pay for the work.

Considering the scale of the problem it’s hardly a king’s ransom.

But the handout has been welcomed by council chiefs who are eager to clear up a backlog of repairs.

People in one borough street – Rothbury Avenue in Monkton Village, Jarrow – even claimed it is one of the most pothole-scarred roads in the UK, with 92, before it was resurfaced.

Nationally, councils have been given £168m to spend on fixing three million potholes.

As a condition of receiving the money, local authorities will be required to publish monthly progress updates on how many holes have been repaired.

Meanwhile, motorists approached by the Gazette were united in a view that potholes were a scourge of modern life for drivers.

Chris Richardson, 50, an online shopper for Asda, of Biddick Hall, South Shields, said: “They’re everywhere, absolutely everywhere and you can’t avoid them. On Biddick Hall they fill them in and, before you know it, they’re back again.

“I travel down Commercial Road in Shields all the time and the potholes are really bad there.

“I’m a careful driver. I have low profile wheels on my car and I take great care to avoid potholes, but it’s really difficult given the shocking state of some roads.

“I don’t think the Government collects enough road tax to finance the full extent of repairing our roads, simply because the money coming in does not cover it.

“Some people in low emission cars pay next to nothing. A better idea would be to transfer funds from unnecessary budgets.”

Offshore worker David Mosley, 39, of Biddick Hall, South Shields, added: “It’s a definite problem and there are some pothole hotspots, especially from the roundabout at New Road in Boldon.

“The bad weather over the last few years has made matters worse.”

Former Westoe Colliery miner Tom Robinson, 79, said: “What exactly do we pay our road tax for if it’s not for keeping our roads safe?

“I don’t think the council act over potholes until they are really bad and people have made complaint after complaint.

“I don’t think there is too big a pothole problem in South Shields but there is a horrendous 50-yard stretch at Barley Mow in Birtley. It really is disgusting.”

Electrician Bill Pennock, 65, of Frazer Close, South Shields, said: “The worst road area is close to where I live at the back of Frederick Street, from Reed Street to Laygate Lane, but to be fair, they are carrying out a lot of new building work around there at the moment.

“They’re not going to spend money to repair potholes until the development is built. I’ve never had too many problems with potholes myself.”

For an outsiders’ view we asked student Alice Heywood, 19, from West Yorkshire, who was in South Shields to visit her boyfriend.

She said: “I think the road around the town’s Asda store is in a poor condition. That needs some work on it.”

Carol McKenzie, of Wansbeck Road, Jarrow, said: “We pay our road tax and we expect our roads to be fit to travel on.

“But the councils in this country have been starved of cash by the Government over recent years, so I suppose it’s only right they give them some money back to fix our roads.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul