Wokingham Borough Council has been allocated a much-needed boost to its highways maintenance funding.
Central government announced in its budget last week that the borough would be allocated £589,200 of the additional £200million being provided nationally for highways maintenance in 2023-2024. However, the council have stressed that though this funding is welcomed, it is not enough.
This additional funding comes at a time when the council, like all local government organisations across the UK, is facing huge financial challenges to ensure vital services are protected and its residents receive the help and support they need to keep their families safe.
Annual maintenance programme
Each year, the council invests millions of pounds repairing roads across the borough through its annual maintenance programme where different types of treatment and resurfacing are used. Roads are assessed and monitored throughout the year using a range of techniques, which informs the plan for the coming year.
The Department for Transport (DfT) strongly advocates the council’s risk-based approach and is committed to allocating funding to local highways authorities so they can use the money most effectively to maintain and improve its respective network, based on local knowledge, circumstances and priorities. The funding covers all parts of the highway network, including bridges, cycleways, and lighting columns, as well as fixing potholes.
Funding from government falls short
The council is pleased to receive this needed boost to highway maintenance funding at a time when it faces huge financial challenges to ensure vital services are protected and residents get the help and support they need. However, this boost alone is not enough.
As the lowest funded unitary authority in the UK, with one of the lowest numbers of staff per resident, this funding will help it to continue ensuring residents are kept safe as they travel around the borough.
The Alarm Survey published this week shows that there is still a huge shortfall, not just in Wokingham Borough but across the country, and the government needs to do more to help.
Officers from the council’s highways team continuously survey road conditions and identify areas in need of improvement. However, with 967 miles of roads and footpaths to maintain and 1304 potholes fixed so far this financial year, feedback from residents is welcome, to help keep roads across the borough maintained to a high standard.
Report a pothole or issue with a road online
The council is encouraging residents to go digital to ensure they receive the most efficient service when reporting a pothole or issue with a road. The ‘report it’ service on the council’s website continues to provide the quickest and most cost effective way to communicate with the council.
Residents are able to report potholes and other highway issues, including damaged streetlights and obstructions in the road, directly to the relevant department via a map-based system, pin-pointing the location to ensure the council’s highway team can act quickly, visit the site and assess the situation to ensure a safe resolution.
They are provided with the option to either register their details, so the council can provide them with an update on their query or report a problem anonymously if they prefer. Either option provides a quick and easy way to report a multitude of issues.
Further information about the ‘report it’ system and the road maintenance programme can be found on the council website. However, the council’s customer service team are also available to talk on the phone Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 0118 974 6000 or face to face at the Shute End office.
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