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Tain councillor ’embarrassed and ashamed’ at council’s traffic cone pothole solution

A main road from Tain to Fearn/Balintore has two deep potholes.
A main road from Tain to Fearn/Balintore has two deep potholes.

Tain councillor Fiona Robertson says her ward is “littered with potholes” and nobody is getting to grips with the situation.

The final straw came when Ms Robertson asked the council to do something about two deep potholes on the road to Newton, off the Fendom Road.

“They put traffic cones in the potholes instead of repairing them,” she said. “It’s near where I live, so I have people knocking on my door asking me when they’ll be repaired.

“It’s absolutely shocking. I’m embarrassed and ashamed.”

Ms Robertson says every pothole is reported to the local roads team by councillors or the wider community.

However, there are often only two road operatives covering the whole ward.

95 potholes in six miles

Recently, a member of the public counted 95 potholes in the six miles between Fearn and Balintore alone.

“A friend of mine burst her tire on one of those potholes, on her own, in the middle of the night,” says Ms Robertson. “That’s happened to a lot of women.

“Our area is absolutely littered with potholes, but nothing is getting done.”

Councillor Fiona Robertson pictured with (from left) Kiltearn community council chairman Hector Munro, and councillor Mike Finlayson.

Ms Robertson says she has raised the problem repeatedly at the Highland Council, and council leader Margaret Davidson has acknowledged that there’s a problem in Tain and Easter Ross.

Council chief executive Donna Manson recently agreed to visit the ward herself, but Ms Robertson says she has heard nothing more.

Highland Council has proposed an additional £5.5m for roads in the next budget – which goes before members today – but Ms Robertson fears it’s too little, too late.

“Last year, we had a larger capital allocation but it was spread across two wards. The roads team started at the Cromarty Firth but they’d run out of money by the time they reached Tain, and we only got one little street done,” she claims.

“We need more money to pay for more men, but the £5.5m extra is for all of Highland. We probably need at least £2m in Ross and Cromarty alone.”

‘Roads determine everything’

Ms Robertson says she has repeatedly raised the problem with the council, with no success.

She hopes that highlighting it in the press will at least reassure people that she’s trying.

“Roads is the single biggest issue here,” she says. “They determine everything. It’s how you get to school, how you get to work, how tourists discover our area.

“I want people to know that I am on their side. We’ve got to all fight together to get this sorted.”

A Highland Council spokesman said: “The latest area roads capital programme 2022-23 report to Easter Ross area committee was approved by local members.

People can report potholes on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/report or by phoning the Council on 01349 886601.”

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