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Budget cuts made flooding worse opposition claims
PROBLEMS caused by recent downpours were made worse by budget cuts to York’s road network, opposition councillors claim.
Heavy rainfall left some routes in the city under water and localised flooding meant disruption for motorists.
City of York Council’s Liberal Democrat group say reduced spending on cleaning roadside gullies increased blockages.
The authority cut its budget for gully-cleaning by £100,000 for 2012/13, meaning those on 30mph roads will not be “routinely serviced”.
The Lib Dems say the wet weather had shown this was “shortsighted”, highlighting roads in the Huntington area as among those which they say were badly affected.
The funding reductions for gully-cleaning mean the budget for this area now stands at £158,000.
Huntington and New Earswick councillor Keith Hyman said: “Regular cleaning of the road gullies is essential to ensure they efficiently drain water off the road surface, so it was shortsighted of Labour to reduce this funding.
“In New Lane, the gully became blocked and I made sure it was reported.
“The blockage was causing major disruption, with traffic backed up from Huntington Road to Hambleton Way, but proper cleaning and maintenance could have prevented this and similar incidents.
“Heavy rainfall and flooding is hardly unprecedented in York and it is disappointing Labour hasn’t followed the example the Lib Dems set while we were in power and ensured proper investment went in.
“They seem to be able to find money for pet projects, such as free wi-fi, but not to deliver basic services residents expect.” The Labour group which controls the council said it would look to rectify larger-scale issues.
Coun Dafydd Williams, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said the authority took flooding issues “very seriously”, but the Lib Dem complaint appeared to relate to “a small puddle”.
He said: “I’m very happy to look into individual cases where there are reports of significant flooding problems, which wouldn’t be surprising given the level of persistent rainfall we’ve had, but this complaint by the Lib Dems is a desperate effort.
“If Coun Hyman wants to show me evidence of disruption or inconvenience caused by flooding, the council will do all it can to resolve the issue, but I don’t think it’s a good use of the council’s time to investigate every small puddle in York.”