New row erupts on pothole roads

12:20pm Friday 26th February 2010

By Lisa Campbell

Bradford Council and prospective parliamentary candidates are locked in disagreement over the fate of two badly damaged roads in Silsden.

The long-running saga concerns Hillcrest Avenue and Spencer Avenue, which are both unadopted and have large cracks and potholes running the length of the roads and pavements.

They are difficult for motorists and able-bodied people to negotiate but it is even more of a struggle for pram-pushers, the disabled and blind people.

After a meeting with Keighley and District Blind Association, Jane Thomas, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Keighley, and Nader Fekri, the Liberal Democrat candidate, issued a joint statement urging Bradford Council to resolve the situation once and for all.

But the council’s portfolio holder for roads, Conservative councillor Anne Hawkesworth, said the Government did not provide the council with any money to repair unadopted roads in the district.

Mrs Thomas said: “The pavements are in an atrocious state and are a real danger to all and in particular the elderly or those with mobility and sight problems.

“There have already been accidents but how long do these residents have to wait for action?”

Mr Fekri said: “This situation is getting worse and I believe there is a special case to be made there.

“It would be a major step forward if the pavements were repaired with or without adoption.

“The pavements could be repaired without adoption using powers under Section 230(7) of the Highways Act, 1980.”

But Cllr Hawkesworth said: “Maintenance of Spencer Avenue and Hillcrest Avenue is the responsibility of the owners of the properties which front the roads “There are currently more than 1,500 unadopted roads across Bradford district which would cost around £50 million to adopt. The present Government does not regard unadopted roads as a priority and therefore does not provide the council with any funding for this purpose.”

Silsden town mayor Cllr Alan Edwards said the town council had tried to rally Bradford Council into adopting the two damaged roads for years, with no success. He said: “There is no doubt that they are in an absolutely terrible state but the people who live up there are mainly pensioners who cannot afford to fork out the money to adopt a road.”

One Spencer Avenue resident, who did not want to be named, said: “For years people have been passing the buck over this issue. There have been petitions and press articles and politicians have got involved, but nothing ever changes.”

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