Failure to meet road guidelines could cost South Tyneside Council £130,000

Council bosses have admitted ro road repair backlog
Council bosses have admitted ro road repair backlog

Failure to properly prioritise road repairs could cost South Tyneside Council £130,000 in government funding.

Highways bosses made the claim as they defended their work to keep the borough’s transport network up to scratch.

Taking questions from councillors and the public at today’s (Thursday, May 24) Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum, Corporate Lead for Engineering Services Derek Smith promised his department was doing all it could with limited resources.

“It’s data-driven,” he said, “we’ve got a plan which gives us an idea of the state of the network and if there’s nothing that needs doing in Boldon [for example], then nothing will be done in Boldon.

“The government can come to the town hall and scrutinise what we’re doing.

“If that ask why are you doing that and we say ‘because a councillor asked us to’, they will take the money away.

“We’ve got a £70m problem and I’ve got a £2.5m budget.”

Since 2015, the government has had a £578m Incentive Fund to reward councils ‘delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements’.

In 2017/18 South Tyneside had a Band Three rating which entitled it to a full funding allocation.

However, the year before it was only assessed to be Band Two and missed out on £13,000.

Falling out of Band Three this year could equate to a £130k reduction for the council.

Mr Smith added: “We work on the worst first and we’ve got a significant backlog, we’re aware of that.

“The country has a £12bn backlog and we’re part of that, but we’re no worse than anyone else.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service