WHEN the new Conservative administration took control of Somerset County Council last June they made it very clear that their number one priority would be mending potholes in the roads.

I remember this distinctly because it struck me, at the time, as being a rather limited and unimaginative vision. Of course everyone wants decent roads, but a bigger ambition, perhaps to make Somerset's schools the best in England, would have been more exciting.

Nevertheless, the pothole pledge did have the advantage of clarity, and the very modesty of the ambition made it much easier to achieve.

Fast-forward eight months to today, in February 2010, and can anyone say that Somerset's roads are better now than they were last June? They are absolutely riddled with potholes and are much worse.

The excuse might be made that the weather has been cold, although it was predictable that the weather would be cold at some point between June 2009 and February 2010. That's what happens in the winter.

Getting this pledge back on track would seem to be the obvious task given that it is the County Council's number one priority. But what has happened instead? The Somerset road maintenance budget for the next financial year is being drastically cut!

Some people will laugh at the sheer hopelessness of the County Council leadership, but most Somerset residents will just want them to keep their promise and fill in the holes in our roads.