Councillor David Topping has been announced as Cheshire East Council’s new Cabinet member in charge of the environment.
And his first job will be to lead the Council’s war on potholes, which will be boosted by a £25 million cash investment over the next two years.
Severe flooding, which caused the second wettest year on record in the UK, has put huge strain on the roads and the Council is now working to radically improve the Borough’s highway network.
Under the stewardship of Councillor Rod Menlove, who resigned earlier this month, the Council repaired more than 46,000 potholes since April 1, 2012, at a cost of £1 million and now aims to fix another 42,000 by the end of this summer.
To help with the battle against potholes, Cheshire East Council’s highways team continues to use the Velocity patcher (see notes to editor).
Councillor Topping said: “Successive bad winters and under-investment by the former Cheshire County Council has left our roads in a bad way.
“Now, Cheshire East Council is working extremely hard to keep the network in a safe condition.
“I am honoured and delighted to take on the environment portfolio, which is in a good condition thanks to the hard work of Councillor Menlove, to whom I would like to pay tribute to for his achievements.”
Currently ward member for Congleton West, Councillor Topping has been a borough councillor since 2004 and has spent some of that time as a portfolio holder for the former Congleton Borough Council.
He is also a member of Cheshire Fire Authority and was its chairman for three years up until 2012.
He added: “With road conditions deteriorating and new potholes forming rapidly, the Council is experiencing a backlog of defects so we must prioritise repairs during the remaining winter months.
“This means busy commuter routes will be treated before, say, residential cul-de-sacs which have less traffic.
“But we are determined to get on top of the problem using the latest technology Velocity patcher combined with traditional highway patching and maintenance activities.
“By adopting this approach, we are expecting to address more than 42,000 potholes by the end of summer and resolve a significant number of defects that have formed in residential areas that can’t be treated during the winter months.”
The money will be spent during the next two years and includes more than £2 million secured from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for national road improvements.
During the past three weeks, the Council’s dedicated hotline to report potholes across the network has received more than 2,000 enquiries from road users and the Council is grateful to them for taking the time to report defects.
The backlog of defects currently being experienced is higher than it typically would be, thanks mainly to 2012 being the second wettest on record in the UK.
Residents are being asked to report any defects to Cheshire East’s online fault reporting page at www.cheshireeasthighways.org/ReportIt or by phoning the highways team on 0300 123 5020.