Published: Friday, 19th April 2024

Leader Cllr Vince Maple, on behalf of Medway and its residents, has pledged to continue to lobby central government for more funding to improve the condition of the roads. 

We have openly spoken about the ongoing deterioration of Medway's roads and our challenge to stretch limited resources (funding and staff) to carry out emergency repairs on the worst potholes and patching work that is essential on small stretches of road suffering from multiple potholes. However, we are pushing government for more support to fund permanent repairs.
On Tuesday, 9 April, Medway’s Cabinet members sent a letter directly to the Minister for Roads and Local Transport requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the challenges faced in maintaining the extensive road network and tackling the growing number of potholes. 
The local authority responsible for maintaining 514miles of roads has since received a response to its letter, with Guy Opperman MP questioning the amount of funding needed to maintain Medway’s roads to a satisfactory standard for road users. Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Vince Maple has since responded outlining the lack of funding Medway has received - £802k additional funding over two years - in comparison with central government referencing they have committed an additional £12million. 
Cllr Vince Maple, on behalf of Medway Council, said: “The Minister for Roads and Local Transport has put in black and white that Medway has been allocated an additional £12million to be used towards addressing the condition of the roads. Medway’s pocket has only seen a fraction of this – with just £802K additional funding allocated for two years. This year’s £401K is only covering 11 roads.
“It is totally unfair for our residents and motorists who use Medway’s roads and we will not back down until Medway receives the funding support it so desperately needs to repair potholes and resurface significant stretches of road. At the moment, we simply do not have the funds to carry out all the repair works, and to the high quality our residents would expect, and quite frankly deserve.”

Medway's pivotal location in south-east

Due to Medway’s pivotal location in the south-east, its roads are in constant use and maintenance is an ongoing requirement. Medway currently has a list of more than 2,000 potholes which require attention, and the council recognises that the actual number of potholes across Medway will likely be higher. 
In the 2023-24 financial year, we repaired 16,373 potholes - a 35.9 per cent increase in repairs compared to the year before. We have also found the cost of this work has increased due to inflation.
Medway’s highways inspectors, of which there are six due to limited budget, patrol daily to check for issues and arrange for the necessary work to be completed to reduce any risk to road users, including prioritising repairs for any high-risk damage. Depending on the severity of the damage, a repair could take place within two hours, but could take up to 28 days for less serious damage due to available resources. 
Cllr Maple added: “We are currently using diminishing funds to carry out immediate plugging of the worst potholes, but this is just a temporary fix to quickly address safety concerns - this does not solve the problem. There are roads across Medway which now require a full resurfacing repair, but we simply do not have the money or resources to also carry out this essential work.  
“We know we are not alone with the poor state of our roads, but we will continue to encourage government to revisit the budget allocated to Medway Council to allow us to sufficiently maintain our roads and help keep Medway moving.”
To report a pothole and to find out more information about the work we do, visit:

Letter - response to MP

Dear Guy

Thank you for your response of the 17th April to our letter on the issue of road conditions in Medway.  Your response poses more questions that it actually answers. 

Firstly for the avoidance of doubt the initial letter was sent to you at 18:21, it was mentioned verbally at our cabinet meeting at around 19:00 and it was published it on Vince Maple’s twitter account at 21.04.We will take no lessons from a government who back in December tweeted about Medway Council and also named it in a press conference before writing to Medway Council two hours later.

We would have imagined that the Minister for Roads would have understood that road conditions go far beyond just potholes. Back in 2022, under the previous Conservative administration, a report went to Overview and Scrutiny which showed that due to investment shortfall there was a backlog of £35 million of works.

You will also appreciate that due to the actions of the previous Prime Minister (who we believe you interacted with at least once during her short term on the 8th September) that there have been very high levels of inflation. That is why hard-working professional officers estimate that initial £35 million of backlog has now risen to £50 million.

Just to be clear on the issue of the additional £400,000 this year as we said in our original letter it has done very little with such a fundamental challenge in quality and ongoing depreciation.  Of course, government could have given our council all £12 million this year which would have given around 24% of what we require but that didn’t happen – people will come to their own conclusions as to why they have chosen not to do so. 

Your letter refers to the government “providing £14 million in emergency funding”. 

Your government have given the people of Medway no extra money - you have allowed the council to borrow money which is a sticking plaster for a system of local government funding which your party broke, and one which will ultimately be paid for by the people of Medway. 

It is regrettable you have chosen not to take up our request for a meeting, we will be clear in reiterating the point to the motorists of Medway that this government refused to even give their local council leaders half hour of time to explore what options can be taken forward to deal with the shortfall in resources for road conditions including potholes. 

We of course remain available to meet to look in detail at the specific issue of the Medway Tunnel as well as challenges for the road network and potholes in Medway with a vision to get the adequate level of resources to ensure that all road users can feel safer travelling on Medway’s roads.   

Yours sincerely

Cllr Vince Maple
Cllr Simon Curry

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