New roads plan 'a key priority for Staffordshire'

Tackling the poor state of some of Staffordshire's roads is a key priority for the year ahead, the county council leader has said.

Potholes have plagued Staffordshire's roads for years
Potholes have plagued Staffordshire's roads for years

Councillor Alan White said his administration was working on a plan to improve the condition of highways across the county, after the Government slashed funding to repair damaged roads.

Mr White now has a huge majority of 52 in the council chamber after picking up seven gains in last week's local elections.

And he said the authority was determined to "reward the faith" of voters by "delivering the goods" on priority issues including roads and children's services.

Mr White, who comfortably held his Lichfield Rural East seat in the elections, said the "great result" in the election showed people across the county had backed his Conservative administration's plans.

He told the Express & Star: "One of the things we really want to be tackling is the infrastructure issues. We know that our highways aren't in quite as good a condition as they ought to be.

"Government hasn't been quite as generous as we would have hoped with the funding for highways, so we need to think about how we can solve those problems for people.

"Council tax payers expect to get something for their money, and that's entirely reasonable and far. So what we want to do is start to tackle those issues that are close to their hearts."

The horrendous condition of Staffordshire's roads has been a major problem for years, with plans unveiled last month to spend £5 million on fixing an estimated 11,000 potholes.

Earlier this year the Department for Transport announced that Staffordshire's annual highways maintenance budget – which includes cash for pothole repairs – had been cut by 26 per cent to £25.1m.

The authority will also be given £3.4m for road safety schemes.

Mr White said ongoing reforms to children's services provision in the county were already starting to bear fruit.

"The benefit of reducing the number of children coming into care means that it doesn't cost as much, so we can use that money elsewhere," he said.

"But we want to make sure that our families across Staffordshire are safe and happy, and we're doing that through our reconfigured teams.

"We have a lot to do and this first year is critical for us. We want to reward the faith that our electorate have placed in us by delivering the goods."

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