THE Conservative Party has accused the Liberal Democrats of 'failing Somerset's roads' since Somerset Council came under their control.

However, the Liberal Democrats say they have increased the number of potholes being repaired since taking over from the Conservatives in 2022.

Statistics show that in May 2022, when the Conservatives left County Hall in Taunton, there were 1,038 outstanding safety defects and potholes.

By May 2024, under Liberal Democrat control, this number had increased to 5,944 an increase of 472.8 per cent in two years.

Residents in Watchet who felt their road was 'the most potholed in England', claimed Somerset Council told them to repair the road themselves.

One resident said: "We are all elderly residents and don't have that kind of money.

"How can you tell a 101-year-old to fill their own potholes?"

The Conservative Party claims that Somerset Council has received around £5million for highways maintenance and pothole repair, and over £7 million specifically for road resurfacing and maintenance since 2022.

Speaking on the findings, Somerset Councillor Diogo Rodrigues, Opposition Spokesman for Transport and Digital, said: "Under the Liberal Democrat administration Somerset's roads have become an obstacle course of potholes and safety hazards.

"The sheer increase in unrepaired defects just shows how incapable they are in handling basic services.

"The residents of Somerset deserve better." 

In response, Liberal Democrat Cllr Richard Wilkins, Lead Member for Transport and Digital on Somerset Council, said the Lib Dems have repaired more potholes in Somerset than the Conservatives did during their final year in County Hall.

He also affirmed that the unitary authority is focusing on complete surface treatments rather than 'temporary patching'.

“During the last year of Conservative rule of Somerset, 2021-2022, they fixed 19,078 potholes," Cllr Wilkins said.

“Under the Lib Dems this went up nearly 50 per cent to 28,574 in 2023-2024.

"There is much more to do to fix the Tory legacy of 13 years of failure in Somerset, and our new contractors are working hard to bring the number of defects down.

“Instead of temporary patching, we are focusing on complete surface treatments.

“What we really need is seven strong Lib Dem MPs standing up in Westminster to get fair funding in Somerset and to fix local government finance.”