MORE than £2million is set to be spent on permanently filling the huge potholes plaguing the streets of Southend, it has been revealed.

Southend Council's proposed budget includes a major £18.6million investment to tackle potholes, improve pavements and fund significant road projects, however the Labour party has slammed the city’s Conservatives for “allowing the situation to get so bad”.

Kevin Buck, Tory councillor responsible for highways, has insisted £2.3million will be spent on long-lasting repairs to major potholes.

However, St Laurence Labour councillor Lydia Hyde has claimed the investment would not be necessary if the Tories had continued the 24-hour emergency pothole repair scheme which was scrapped in June last year.

Echo: 'Huge problem' - Lydia Hyde has slammed Mr Buck's plan as a 'vanity idea''Huge problem' - Lydia Hyde has slammed Mr Buck's plan as a 'vanity idea' (Image: Southend Council)

Ms Hyde said: “We have had a huge problem this year since Kevin’s vanity idea to stop temporary pothole filling.

“It was a free service where once a pothole was reported, it was made safe, which is critical because every time you keep it open, it is dangerous to people and their vehicles.

“Having the permanent fills requires a timeline. It involves more work, you have to close the road and you are looking at traffic cones.

“It is costing us more, we need to bring back the temporary filling and we need to be more strategic. We have a vision for our city and we want to build one we can be proud of.”

Alongside the potholes, Mr Buck is budgeting million to replace broken pavement slabs and refurbish entire streets with new tarmac.

Echo: Long-term plan - Kevin BuckLong-term plan - Kevin Buck (Image: Southend Council)

He said: “With £2.3million, effectively, we have moved around from temporary repairs other than category 1 repairs, we are focusing in the permanent repairs.

“I have shifted focus, we want more long-term repairs, we should catch up with our potholes with permanent repairs.

“Category one is the most serious, their depth and their size is urgent, when identified they should be repaired within 28 days.

“At this time of year, potholes will come out again because they haven’t been done properly.

“We will be resurfacing a number of roads identified, one of the benefits of modern tarmac is the noise being reduced with electric vehicles, it would have nice quiet roads with less emission and less noise.”