Although the council urged him to halt “in no uncertain terms,” one councilman has defended his choice to repair potholes in his neighbourhood himself.
The roads in Luke Mason’s ward in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, are in considerably better shape now that he fixed the potholes himself.
A representative from Middlesbrough Council, however, stated that while they appreciated Mr. Mason’s efforts, all highway repairs must be completed in accordance with health and safety regulations and to the necessary standards.
Cllr Mason told TeesideLive: ‘It’s one of those things, the council is coming under ever-increasing pressure, the demand for maintenance across our environmental services is outstripping supply.
‘Officers are trying their best but the statutory services we run at the council, mainly social care, are taking up an ever-increasing portion of our budget.
‘The repairs are far from perfect but they leave the roads in a far better state than what they were before. I think it’s important to realise how under pressure services are so you can’t lay the blame solely on the council and officers.’
Yet despite his good intentions, Mr Mason was told in no uncertain terms’ by the council’s environmental services that it could be ‘a serious breach’ if anything happened at one of the potholes he has repaired.
‘I think it might have to come to an end now,’ he added.
Mr Mason, who is standing for re-election in May, said he would ‘strongly dissuade’ the public from doing repairs themselves for legal reasons that could ‘come back to haunt them.’
‘In my own defence, I am quite happy with the work I have done there but the public shouldn’t be doing it themselves,’ he said.
A council spokesperson said: ‘We appreciate the efforts of ward members and members of the public who wish to improve their local areas.
‘However, highway repairs need to be carried out in line with health and safety guidelines and to appropriate standards.
‘As such advice has been issued accordingly for the wellbeing of all, including road users.’
Middlesbrough Council plans to scale back a planned £15m investment to just £7.5m in their 2023/24 budget, which will save them a further £162,000 in financing costs.
However, these cutbacks are set to reduce the council’s capacity to maintain roads by approximately two thirds.