Tories drive £2.3m into re­pair­ing roads

PLEDGE: Leader says £500,000 will ad­dress ‘ne­glect’ of roads net­work

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - Jamie buchan jabuchan@the­

Coun­cil bosses have un­veiled a £2.3 mil­lion plan to up­grade crum­bling roads across Perth and Kin­ross.

Ex­tra re­sources are be­ing ploughed into the lo­cal net­work to ad­dress what the new Tory-led ad­min­is­tra­tion de­scribe as “years of ne­glect and un­der­in­vest­ment”.

Coun­cil leader Ian Camp­bell won cross-party sup­port for his pledge to spend £500,000 of public money on the re­gion’s roads.

The plan in­cludes rev­ers­ing a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion taken by the pre­vi­ous SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion to only re­pair pot­holes which were more than 60mm deep, a move which was said to save around £120,000.

Mr Camp­bell wants to go back to the na­tional stan­dard of 40mm.

The coun­cil has also se­cured £1.6m from the Forestry Com­mis­sion to re­pair roads which have been dam­aged over the years by heavy log lor­ries.

And Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil has fur­ther agreed ex­tra fund­ing of £250,000 to im­prove green ar­eas, play parks and wood­lands.

The move was agreed by coun­cil­lors, de­spite warn­ings from SNP coun­cil­lors about tak­ing cash from the lo­cal au­thor­ity re­serves.

Mr Camp­bell said: “It is vi­tal we main­tain and im­prove our in­fra­struc­ture.

“Af­ter years of ne­glect and un­der-in­vest­ment, some of our roads – par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas – need to be brought up to scratch.

“This ad­min­is­tra­tion has made it one of our pri­or­i­ties to en­sure that all ar­eas of Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil get their fair share of fund­ing for is­sues that mat­ter to our com­mu­ni­ties.”

In April, un­der the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, elected mem­bers voted against a plea by Kin­ross-shire coun­cil­lor David Cuth­bert to in­vest an ex­tra £450,000 into the roads re­pairs budget.

The money was the re­sult of an un­der­spend and was due to be put into the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s re­serves.

Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lor Pete Bar­rett was cred­ited at this week’s full coun­cil meet­ing for play­ing a role in the new roads deal.

He said: “If there was an is­sue which was raised time and time again with me in the six month run-up to May’s elec­tion ... it was the state of our roads.

“There was frus­tra­tion with the 60mm pot hole rule.

“Cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans felt they were be­ing treated as sec­ond class cit­i­zens, hav­ing to avoid a grow­ing num­ber of trip haz­ards, while res­i­dents could do noth­ing but stand and watch these holes in the road grow be­fore they were acted on.”

Coun­cil­lor Dave Doogan, leader of the lo­cal SNP group, said: “It is a great re­lief to see the about-face the Con­ser­va­tives are tak­ing now when it comes to in­vest­ment in our com­mu­ni­ties.

“It was only a few months ago they were talk­ing about the ben­e­fits of shut­ting our public toi­lets.

“Now we see a very dif­fer­ent tack,” he said.

Af­ter years of ne­glect and un­der­in­vest­ment, some of our roads – par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas – need to be brought up to scratch. COUN­CIL LEADER IAN CAMP­BELL

Pic­ture: Gareth Jennings.

Ian Camp­bell shows an ex­am­ple of pot­holes on Shore Road, Perth.

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