Reading Borough Council plans huge £9m investment in road repairs

Reading could get an unprecedented GBP9m investment in road repairs under plans unveiled by the council. The spending spree proposal is part of the council's three-year budget, approved for consultation last night. Reading Borough Council (RBC) have called the proposal the borough's biggest ever road repair programme and say "every resident and road user in Reading will benefit from newly laid road surfaces, pavements and footpaths and a purge on potholes".

READ MORE: Reading Borough Council approves draft budget for consultation The extra GBP3 million per year would be in addition to the current government funding of up to GBP900,000 and is the first time the council has borrowed money to invest in road repairs Around GBP2.5 million would be invested next year on new road surfaces and repairs for residential streets and housing estates.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: "This is the most substantial investment on improving road surfaces that Reading has ever seen. "Hundreds of residential roads will be resurfaced or repaired over the next three-year period, with the bulk of the council's investment on residential roads or local housing estates, where the largest maintenance backlog exists." READ MORE: New Kentwood councillor elected to Reading Borough Council in by-election

The proposed investment programme includes the appointment of a project engineer to manage the three-year project. If proposals are agreed, a contractor would be appointed in early spring with the work beginning early new financial year and running through to late autumn every year. The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) spoke to the leader and deputy leader of the council to find out why road repairs have been chosen for so much investment.

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of the council, said: "We listened to what residents told us. "Everywhere we go in the town people were concerned about the state of the roads. Cllr Page added: "This is not just benefiting cars.

All road users will benefit. Cycling will particularly be a beneficiary. "Cyclists are particularly vulnerable to road surfaces."

Roads will be selected using the council's existing road priority selection criteria, where they are repaired in order of condition. Councillors will be provided with the prioritised road list for their ward and could then input their local knowledge. The rolling list of roads would be reviewed annually to ensure the money is being spent where it will make the most impact.

The GBP9 million investment would come from the council' s GBP357 million general fund capital programme, funded by a combination of grants, cheaper borrowing available to councils, developer contributions, infrastructure funding and capital receipts. 

The council cannot use this money to run day-to-day services or to balance the council's revenue budget.

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