Dudley would become “the pothole capital of the Black Country” if plans to slash thousands of pounds from the roads budget go ahead, it was claimed during a heated council debate.
The borough council’s cabinet was attacked over plans to make cuts of almost £22 million at a meeting last night.
The Labour-controlled authority has revealed a three-year programme of savings which will see services ranging from road and street maintenance to care for the elderly and youth services stripped back.
But Councillor Patrick Harley, shadow cabinet member for transport, hit out at proposals to slash the budgets for road maintenance by more than £800,000.
Addressing the cabinet members, he said: “Withdrawing this funding will make Dudley the pothole capital of the Black Country. It will cost taxpayers more because the bill for filling in potholes will be rising.”
Councillor Tim Wright also criticised the plans, along with proposals to reduce the street cleaning, saying: “We’ve seen new building in Dudley like we’ve never seen before.
“But will people continue to invest in Dudley if they can’t get from A to B because of the potholes and if the borough isn’t attractive because green care has been cutback?”
Transport chief Judy Foster defended the plans saying a plan would be in place to ensure roads most at risk of deterioration would be repaired as a priority.
“ We are not going to take anything out of the potholes budget. They will continue to be addressed,” she added.
The council says it needs to make savings of £10.7m in 2013 to 2014, £4.8m the following year and £6.3m in 2015 to 2016. A call for council tax to be frozen for another year was made by Councillor Les Jones.
By Heather Large