Council crews have repaired almost 1,900 potholes in city streets since coronavirus lockdown measures came into force 42 days ago.
The Stoke-on-Trent City Council teams have resurfaced 7.5 miles of roads, including the A53 MFI roundabout, Westport Road in Burslem, Manor Street in Fenton and Cemlyn Avenue in Blurton. A total of 1,885 road repairs have been carried out since 23 March – more than the combined total of 1,800 repairs carried out in January and February, and more than three times the number of repairs made in March.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Our teams have been working safely and efficiently through the coronavirus restrictions, and the quiet roads have helped us to complete more repairs and cause less disruption to road users.
“A number of staff had self-isolated in early March, but we now have seven teams of two back out across the city and four highways inspectors working. The safety of our workforce is our top priority. Each highway job has had new risk assessments done and the majority of the processes have changed so that social distancing and health and safety regulations continue to be observed.
“We are continuing to work on schemes where workforce and supplies allow, to help protect the economy and city’s infrastructure during the pandemic. The government advice is that highways and construction workers can and should keep working as long as they are fit and well, and able to practise social distancing.
“We announced in March plans for a major new investment programme in the city’s roads over the next four years. Up to £35 million will be spent on repairing more than 900 roads and pavements, and upgrading dozens of traffic signals with modern technology.”
Residents are encouraged to report potholes, including a detailed description of the location, via the MyStoke App, or via 01782 234234.
Meanwhile, council bin crews collected a total of 708 tonnes of garden waste from brown bins across the city during the first week of a two-week sweep of collections last week. The total is more than double the 352 tonnes of garden waste collected during the same week last year.
Councillor Brown said: “Our crews are putting in a lot of hard work to ensure we get to all areas of the city over the two weeks. We’re collecting twice as much garden waste, and crews are finding they are having to tip off twice as frequently.
“We ask that households continue to have patience while we complete collections this week, and to not put out bags alongside their brown bins as we cannot collect them.”
Brown bin collections will continue tomorrow (Wednesday) in Lightwood, Longton, Meir, Meir Park, Normacot and Weston Coyney. A full list of the areas being collected from each day this week has been published on the council’s website – www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus/waste.
Council crews have today (Tuesday) not been able to collect from nine streets that they were looking to get to: Pensford Grove, Orpheus Grove, Cheltenham Grove and Heatherleigh Grove in Birches Head; and Berwick Road, East Crescent , West Crescent, Emery Avenue and St Margaret’s Drive in Sneyd Green. Crews will return to these streets first thing in the morning (Wednesday).
Meanwhile, the council is advising businesses of a bounce back loan scheme being operated by government. The loans are for small businesses and are of a value up to £50,000 to help them through the coronavirus outbreak. They can help small businesses and sole traders including hairdressers, coffee shops and florists and are 100 per cent backed by the government.
Small business owners can apply to accredited lenders by filling out a simple online form, with only seven questions. The government has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5 per cent interest will be charged on these loans. Any business that has already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan of £50,000 or less can apply to have these switched over to the new scheme.
The loans are available through a network of lenders, including the five largest banks. For more details, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-bounce-back-loans-to-launch-today.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.