Lib Dems slam Labour and Tories for blocking pothole policy change

12 Aug 2023
Councillor Stephen Fenton on Wains Grove

York’s Liberal Democrat councillors have hit out at Labour and Conservative councillors who blocked an attempt to require a change in the way that the council decides which potholes are filled and which are left.

In a motion to a Full Council meeting on 20th July, Cllr Stephen Fenton proposed that as part of a review of the current highways inspection manual, a change is made so that the ‘investigatory level’ for potholes is reduced from 4cm to 3cm. But an amendment by Labour councillor Jonny Crawshaw significantly watered down the Lib Dem proposal – instead of requiring this change to be implemented, he proposed that the change should just be ‘explored.’ When it came to the vote, Labour councillors voted in favour of the watered-down wording, and Conservative councillors abstained.

Cllr Stephen Fenton has expressed his disappointment that the Lib Dem proposal was not supported by the other parties.

“The aim of this proposal was to ensure that the concrete roads in York which have a crumbling tarmac top layer – such as Wains Grove in my own Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward - are not forgotten about when it comes to deciding where repairs are needed. As things stand, because the tarmac on these roads is only around 3cm deep, they never stand a chance of being repaired, even though in their current state they pose a hazard for cyclists and pedestrians in particular.”

During the debate on the motion, Lib Dem Cllr Anne Hook read out an e-mail from a resident who tripped in a pothole and fell, fracturing her foot in two places. But after investigating the incident, the resident was informed by the council that the pothole was not deep enough and did not need repairing.

Cllr Fenton added “My Lib Dem colleagues and I will continue to campaign for a change in the council’s approach to highways maintenance. As well as the condition of concrete roads, we will continue to highlight the dangers posed by tarmac speed humps, many of which are in a very poor state of repair.”

The full text of the Lib Dem motion, and Labour’s amendment, is available at

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