CHESHIRE East has a £200m backlog of road repairs because of ‘inadequate’ government funding so an extra £110m over the next 10 years won’t resolve the problem, the council’s highways boss has said.

Cllr Craig Browne, chair of Cheshire East’s highways and transport committee, was speaking after Tatton MP Esther McVey (Con) said there was ‘absolutely no excuse’ for road repairs not to be done given the extra money being awarded to local councils by government.

According to Department of Transport figures, Cheshire East stands to get £110.7m by 2033/34, with £1.658m of that coming this financial year and the same amount the following year.

Northwich Guardian: Esther McVey MPEsther McVey MP (Image: Esther McVey's office)Ms McVey said last week: “Given the size of this investment and the fact it is additional money, there is absolutely no excuse for repairs not to be carried out.”

But Cllr Browne (Alderley Edge, Ind) told the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week, the comments from the recently appointed Minister without Portfolio show a ‘lack of understanding of the scale of the problem’.

Cllr Browne said: “In Cheshire East, we are responsible for some 2,700km of road network and 2,100km of footpaths. The estimated replacement cost of that network, using the government's approved calculation, is £6bn.”

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Craig BrowneCllr Craig Browne (Image: Cheshire East Council)He said in 2020/21, the government slashed Cheshire East’s road repairs grant by £4m to about £15m per year.

“Our funding remained at £15m per year in 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24, despite the fact that construction inflation added between 25-30 per cent to the costs of road repairs over the same period,” said Cllr Browne.

“The announcement that Cheshire East Council will now receive an extra £1.6m in each of the next two years, as part of an investment package of £110m over the next ten years, is welcome.

"However, it is wholly inadequate when seen in the context of the costs of repairing 2,700km of network, fails to recognise the impact that construction inflation has had over the last few years and doesn't even take us back to the level of funding we were receiving for road repairs in 2006.”

He added: “Over that period, due to wholly inadequate funding from a variety of governments, the extent of the backlog of repairs in Cheshire East now totals £200m; therefore, an investment of £110m over the next 10 years will not resolve the problem and for the MP to suggest that it will, illustrates a lack of understanding of the scale of the problem.”