‘£200m needed to repair North Yorkshire roads’

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A Nidderdale politician has claimed it would cost at least £200million to repair North Yorkshire’s road network.

Pateley Bridge County Coun John Fort (Con) responded to 2014-15 budget recommendations agreed this week by North Yorkshire County Council’s executive, which include spending £5m on highways, upping council tax by 1.99 per cent and a review of services which could lead to the closure of children’s centres and libraries.

Coun John Fort

Coun John Fort

The authority is bidding to make £73million of savings over the coming years, representing a reduction in its spending power of 34 per cent.

The recommendations will be discussed by full council later this month, and Coun Fort has told the Nidderdale Herald the authority is in a ‘difficult’ situation over road repairs.

He said: “The road system in North Yorkshire would need £200m at least to bring them up to standard.

“The major roads are in a reasonable condition, and I appreciate we are dealing with areas of a low population but, on the other hand, we need to be in a position to carry out repairs.

“We are always going to have difficulty in North Yorkshire with so many roads and so few people to pay for them.”

After three years of frozen council tax bills, NYCC’s executive unanimously agreed the 1.99 per cent increase - a move which would provide income of around £4.6m - and Coun Fort is prepared to agree to the rise.

Other proposals agreed by the executive include a review of early years provision, including children’s centres, which will examine new ways of delivery, in tandem with other services such as youth services and libraries.

The review is likely to result in the closure of some children’s centres, although front line work will be protected.

Coun Fort said: “We are in a situation now where frontline services will be affected by the budget.

“I think in the circumstances an increase is inevitable because at the end of the day it is only a debt that will have to be sorted out in the future.

“I think another freeze would be irresponsible.”

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Have your say: County Council agrees budget cuts