South Tyneside's '˜Third World' roads need £69million to be brought up to standard, councillors told

Fed up drivers have been told the pot is empty as a senior councillor admitted roads in South Tyneside are not being repaired properly.

Coun John McCabe says the Government is not giving the borough enough cash to repair potholes ‘to the required standard” - adding: “I’ve just come back from Turkey and the roads there are better.”

He claimed some roads in South Tyneside were “like a Third World country” and that engineers were having to adopt a “worst first” approach to repairs.

His comments came at the Hebburn Community Area Forum after local residents Terry and Sandra Connolly, of Tharsis Road, Hebburn, raised concerns about repair standards in their street.

Mr Connolly said the council should use concrete to fill roads instead of tarmac, describing it as a more cost-effective solution in the long-term.

But Coun McCabe, of the Hebburn South ward, said funding was an issue in restoring roads across the borough.

He said it would cost over £69million to bring South Tyneside roads and footpaths up to standard but, last year, the council received just £3million from central government.

He added: “Do the maths. It doesn’t take long. We’re never going to improve the roads until we get the funds. In the meanwhile, we all have to suffer, myself included as a motorist and homeowner.”

He added: “What they’re doing now is ‘worst first’. You may think that your road is pretty bad but the engineer will come and show you one that’s worse and has to be done first.

“It’s like a Third World country to be quite honest with you. I have recently been to Turkey and the roads there are of a better standard.”

Coun John McCabe

South Tyneside Council confirmed £69million needs to be spent to bring roads up to standard – with the repair bill expected to rise further in the next decade.

Latest projections show the backlog repair bill will jump to £84m within a decade.

South Tyneside’s lead member for area management and community safety, Coun Nancy Maxwell, said: “Against a background of year on year cuts from central government, we are now facing a backlog of £69m to bring our roads up to standard.

“We have lost more than half of our government grant since 2010, which means we have £746 less to spend per household on delivering vital services – including repairing roads.

“Despite this, we are committed to doing everything we can to invest in our roads. We always seek to get best value for money by using alternative materials to prolong the life of the carriageway and to prioritise our budgets more effectively.”

An annual report on the state of the council roads by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), an industry body, previously revealed reductions in funding to highways teams in England and Wales.

According to this, they received around £556 million less than they needed to keep the roads in good condition – equivalent to £3.3 million per local authority.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service