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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Sheppey and Sittingbourne road repair bill pushed through roof by potholes

05 January 2014
by Lewis Dyson


Repairs on Sittingbourne and Sheppey’s roads were almost £80,000 over budget last year.

A total of £804,483 was spent by Kent Highways on resurfacing across both areas between April 2012 and April 2013.

Kent County Council estimates the annual budget for Sittingbourne and Sheppey is around £730,000.

This is based on £450,000 set aside each year for smaller repairs of potholes and patches and a further £450,000 for larger repairs such as patching works and small areas of resurfacing.

In addition a sum of £200,000 from a project called Fix and Find, which was set up specifically to target repairs required as a consequence of the severity of the winter weather.

According to Kent County Council (KCC), the spread of work is traditionally quite even across Swale, so it estimates the budget for Sittingbourne and Sheppey is two thirds of the annual total.

Over the course of the previous financial year, 2011/2012, a total of £234,970 was spent on resurfacing.

A pothole

A pothole

Spending on major road schemes on Sheppey was lower than the previous year, with £10,000 being spent on improvements to the Rushenden Relief Road over 2012 and 2013.

The previous year, £1,780,000 had been spent on the route, which is also known as Thomsett Way.

In Sittingbourne, £270,000 was spent in the last year on the Northern Relief Road, whereas the year before £6,490,000 went on the same project.

Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the Sheerness Times Guardian can reveal the amount KCC paid out in compensation to drivers who have claimed for damage to their vehicles as a result of hitting potholes in Sittingbourne and Sheppey between October 1 2012 to October 1 2013 was £1,525.

The total figure for Kent was £43,131.

Sheppey ward members on Kent County Council requested a combined £43,067 from their highway funds for 2012 to 2013.

Money can be allocated for things like road safety and traffic schemes and also signs and small repairs up to a certain limit.

Among Cllr Adrian Crowther’s requests was £10,000 for a rural community bus service and £8,800 on improvements to Chequers Road, opposite Bell Farm Lane, and The Broadway, Minster.

He also spent £2,000 on the A249 Sheppey Way.

Over the same period, former KCC member Ken Pugh requested £16,000 also towards a rural community bus service.

He was also granted £500 for Main Road, Queenborough, £1,015 for Queenborough Road, Halfway, and £2,000 for the A249 Sheppey Way.

There was a £2,000 contribution towards a scheme to paint the Clock Tower in Sheerness, £752 on High Street and Broadway in Sheerness.

Neil McLennan has been affected by the cost of work to his taxi

Neil McLennan has been affected by the cost of work to his taxi

Islander Neil McLennan has set up a Facebook page called Sheppey’s Rank Roads to flag up areas in need of repair to Kent Highways.

Users are encouraged to post photos on the page.

As a taxi driver for Val’s Cars in Sheerness, Mr McLennan, 42, says he has an interest in improving the roads for both his passengers’ quality of ride but also to save money on his bills from the mechanic.

He called the repairs on Sheppey’s roads, a “catalogue of errors”.

He said: “They wouldn’t have had to have spent so much money if they were a bit more proactive with the repairs.

“They seem to have one contractor and there doesn’t seem to be any quality control in place.

“If you had some work done at your home and it wasn’t good enough, you would expect the builder to come and sort it out.”

The Warden Bay resident said resurfacing in Warden Road was recently carried out in the rain leading to its cracks reforming.

He added: “This really isn’t acceptable and they just do half a job, it really isn’t acceptable.”

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