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Tories react to ‘pothole party’ jibe
A minster has blamed councillors for allowing pothole-ridden roads to crumble into a “shocking” state.
Lewes MP Norman Baker branded Conservative members on East Sussex County Council the “pothole party” and said they had done little to help motorists.
But one senior councillor said the transport minister’s comments were “a bit rich” and said the local authority was spending millions of pounds to repair the damage.
Thousands of new cracks and craters are being reported across East Sussex every week after freezing weather caused the roads to crack up.
Emergency repairs will bring many routes across the county to a near-standstill in the coming months.
Mr Baker, a Lib Dem member of the coalition government, said: “I’m disappointed by the state of the roads in East Sussex, which are shocking in many cases. I’m not convinced that the council have a sensible approach to dealing with this issue.
“I think the Tories are the pothole party. Often they appear to repair the holes, only for them to reappear only weeks later.
“There are standards for making sure the roads last and I am not sure these are being adhered to. Frankly I think motorists have a right to be concerned.”
East Sussex County Council has already had nearly 400 claims this year relating to highways from drivers with damaged cars.
However, Councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for transport, said Mr Baker’s comments were “completely inaccurate”.
He said: “This is typical Norman Baker – going out on a limb to score a political point.
“As transport minister, what Mr Baker could have done instead of moaning is to release the £1.4 million from Government earlier so we could have dealt with this more effectively over the winter.
“In fact, what we have done is to properly resurface roads rather than just a temporary fix.
"We have already invested some £30 million in the last three years and we have got three times as many gangs responding to the problems.
“This will deal with years of underinvestment from the Lib Dem-run council during the 1990s.”
The comments came as a new report claimed councils needed as much as £10.5 billion to reinstate Britain’s “crumbling roads”.
Local authorities in England and Wales filled in more than two million potholes last year – up 29% on 2011, the Asphalt Industry Alliance reported
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