THE leader of Northumberland County Council has reiterated his pledge to win the “battle” against potholes.

Debate around the issue dominated discussions on the new Local Transport Plan (LTP), which sets out the county council’s priorities for the coming financial year with regards to highways.

The plan contains more than £26 million in spending, with £24 million allocated for road maintenance.

An additional £4.5 million will also be put into maintaining and repairing the county’s numerous U and C-class rural roads.

READ MORE: Railway station to benefit from £1.9m investment

The LTP also contains safety improvements, with projects selected from those recommended by county, town and parish councillors.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting (February 12) of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Committee, council leader Glen Sanderson insisted that potholes were not unique to Northumberland.

Cllr Sanderson said: “I would like to say how pleased I am about this amount of money. We know that all counties in the UK are having the same problem that we are thanks to some very difficult weather conditions, and the ever-increasing amount of heavy traffic on roads constructed for the likes of Morris Minors and five-ton trucks.

“We’re fighting a battle, but we are winning it. We continue to put money into it and there is no question about it, we will win this fight.”

Independent councillor Mary Murphy questioned whether the council would be finding more permanent solutions to the pothole problem.

She said: “The biggest issue for all of us is pothole.s Where is the money for research and development of materials and ways and means of actually filling in potholes so that they don’t come out again?

“We’re doing the same thing again and again. The materials that we are using are clearly limited.

“It would be good to tell people that there is something better coming.”

Cllr Murphy also referenced a trial in the north of the county, which had looked at more permanent patches for potholes. Coun Sanderson said the council could use this method on some, but not all potholes.

He continued: “We have to act quickly when there is a pothole that needs patching. The other problem we have is that a lot of our roads aren’t structurally able to take them because they’re very thin.

“Where we can do it, we’re going to do more of it. I would feel much more depressed if I hadn’t been to Leicestershire and seen it was much worse. There are also potholes on the A1 between where I live and Morpeth, which isn’t our responsibility.

“It is not confined to Northumberland, but we are determined to beat it and we will beat it. Our staff are working flat out and by autumn, things will be different.”