If you are driving west from Charlton Kings down the London Road out towards the Dowdeswell Reservoir, you can’t help but notice the major resurfacing a large stretch of the A40.
This is incredibly welcome news and represents a major step forward in our campaign to improve the conditions of Cheltenham’s roads. Other roads, like the London Road approach to Hales Road have been fixed too.
The resurfacing of the A40 comes at the start of a significant acceleration of road resurfacing throughout the country after the Prime Minister announced billions of pounds of extra investment to fix potholes as part of his plan to redirect spiralling HS2 costs.
As Echo Readers may know, potholes are a particular bugbear of mine and fixing Cheltenham’s roads has been a key local priority for me since I was first elected.
In 2015, Cheltenham's roads were a disgrace. Tommy Taylor's Lane was practically undriveable, Vittoria Walk was full of deep potholes, and the Promenade really let the town down.
But we are now making significant progress locally with resurfacing work to the Prom, St James’ Square, Leckhampton Road, Montpellier Spa Road, Cleeveland Road and so on.
In addition to persuading Highways to agree to a major programme of road repairs in Cheltenham, we have also won the argument for the proper resurfacing of our roads rather than short-term ‘cowpat’ repairs which simply wash out in the first frost.
Highways have now also agreed to deploy more teams, to trial
innovative techniques with new materials to make repairs stronger in all weather conditions, and to utilising new machinery for faster repairs.
As we approach winter, more resurfacing now means fewer potholes in the spring. So I will continue to meet with Highways to push for progress and to report roads that require attention.
Potholes aren’t just dangerous, inconvenient and annoying. They contribute to a sense of decay and as a barrier to productivity and future investment. That’s why I will ensure that Cheltenham gets its fair share of the Government’s new multi-billion pound pothole fund.
With this extra cash, we can solve this issue once and for all.
[Column published in the Echo and Cheltenham Post]