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Row rumbles on over efforts to address multi-million pound Angus unadopted roads problem

Potholes proliferate in parts of Angus.

Angus communities facing a multi-million pound unadopted roads headache have been told there is no money to throw at dealing with the problem.

Councillors previously agreed to ask the authority’s chief executive to write to the UK and Scottish Governments to ask if a grant scheme could be set up to help pave the way for householders to fix their streets.

Westminster replied that roads are a devolved issue, and Holyrood has said it has no plans to bring in such a scheme.

Angus to kickstart ‘national conversation’ in drive for unadopted roads grant repair scheme

The knockbacks were revealed to Angus communities committee councillors on Tuesday as they were told of the massive financial challenge of repairing miles of potholed carriageways.

175 roads on unadopted list

The district has 175 unadopted roads, with known condition issues on almost a quarter of them.

Some have become so bad that council bin lorries will not go up them for refuse collections.

In Letham – the largest village in Angus – residents have become so exasperated they set up a local lottery to help create a pothole repair pot.

At a crossroads: Letham residents set up local lottery to repair unadopted roads

Infrastructure services director Ian Cochrane used four Letham streets to illustrate the scale of the problem.

“Letham has 20 unadopted roads listed,” he said.

“Of these, four roads: East Blairs Road, Breahead Road, Woodside Road (part) and Guthrie Street have regular issues reported to roads officers, which have been subject to much correspondence.

“The length of these unadopted roads are 400m, 750m, 270m and 400m respectively, giving a total of 1.82km.”

He said the cost of making up an unadopted road to a standard for inclusion on the list of public roads works out at around £1.3 million to £1.5m per kilometre – a figure of more than £2.5m for the four village stretches alone.

No budget money

“There is no budget allocation for bringing unadopted roads or footways up to the appropriate standard,” added the official.

“If revisions were made to the policy for unadopted roads then consideration to the financial implications would also be considered and reported.”

Arbroath West and Letham councillor Richard Moore, who brought the unadopted roads motion to a full meeting of the council, said: “This report shows the extent of the problem residents face, when the road is able to be used by everyone from motorbike to refuse lorry, yet the properties bordering the road, ‘frontagers’, are expected to bear the cost of maintenance.

“I am not talking about farm tracks, private roads, private entrances, parking areas or paths, but public thoroughfares which you and I can use but which we don’t contribute to the upkeep of.

“If a developer builds a new housing estate including 1,000 metres of road which is to the acceptable standard, would the council adopt it? I believe the answer would be ‘yes’.

Braehead Road in Letham.

“If a group of residents brought a sub-standard unadopted road up to an acceptable standard would the council adopt it? The answer should be ‘yes’ again.

“However, we know that the cost of achieving the adoptable standard is a seven-figure sum per kilometre. How many residents have that sort of money available?

“The affected section of Braehead Road, for example, would cost the residents over £50,000 per property to bring it to the required standard.

“There is a problem here and pretending to be an ostrich will not make it go away.

“Somehow, at some point the issue has to be resolved.”

Councillors divided

Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff said: ” It is a massive problem but it is one of those problems in life that we are not likely to sort in the next 20 years.

“I think this was a huge waste of time.”

Carnoustie Independent David Cheape replied: “You just have to look at the full list to see how many roads are affected.

“Unadopted roads will bring other problems and you can’t just kick it into the long grass for 20 years.”

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