Tories drive £2.3m into repairing roads
PLEDGE: Leader says £500,000 will address ‘neglect’ of roads network
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
Ian Campbell shows an example of potholes on Shore Road, Perth.