A Fife councillor has suggested claims of double standards on roads maintenance merely scratch the surface of a serious issue.
In October, The Courier highlighted Howe of Fife and Tay Coast Councillor Donald Lothian’s concerns that certain parts of North East Fife were coming off as the poor relation to other parts of the Kingdom.
He claimed the B969 Western Avenue in Glenrothes had been subject to regular resurfacing while several A class roads in his own area were in a worse state yet had not been addressed.
Now a fellow Howe of Fife and Tay Coast member has raised the question of unadopted roads in the area which are receiving no maintenance at all.
Conservative councillor Andy Heer said there was a budget for dealing with unadopted roads until as recently as a couple of years ago and called for action.
“There is no longer any budget for them and as a result people living on unadopted roads, paying the same council tax as everyone else, are not getting any road maintenance at all,” he said.
“There are unadopted roads all over the place: some are streets in the middle of towns, the same as any other street, some are the main street serving half a village.”
Mr Heer went on to highlight a number of key examples, such as Gateside’s Old Town, Letham School Brae, Lomond Road in Freuchie, East Back Dykes in Strathmiglo, Rameldry Mill, Cherry Grove in Gauldry and a road leading to half a dozen houses and the cemetery in Dunbog.
“There are plenty more,” he added.
“The only thing they have in common is that at the time of local government re-organisation back in the 1970s they got left off somebody’s list.
“At the time it didn’t matter because everyone knows that the council repairs the roads don’t they?
“But it’s not just a matter of patching potholes.
“If the streetlights in one of these streets require repair which involves digging up the road the residents will get the bill.
“I don’t think this has happened yet but it’s going to sooner or later.”
Fife is currently facing a staggering £95.6 million maintenance backlog which is set to rise over the coming years due to cutbacks.
In response to Mr Heer’s concerns, the council’s lead professional Kevin Smith confirmed that the current financial picture meant unadopted roads had slipped down the priority pile.
“There are 2,425kms of road in Fife which Fife Council has a statutory duty to repair and maintain,” he said.
“We do this to the best of our ability with decreasing budgets due to the financial pressure being placed on local authorities across the country.
“There are a number of roads in North East Fife which are not owned and maintained by Fife Council and are therefore private roads in terms of the Roads Scotland Act.
“The maintenance responsibility rests with the adjoining landowners.
“In the past we had a small budget set aside to help with repairs on these roads.
“This was used to assist with the repair of safety defects but only as a goodwill gesture without incurring liability for future maintenance.
“Budget pressures are so great now that we can only focus on the maintenance of roads for which the council has a statutory responsibility.”