By Ian Onions, Political Editor
MORE than £1 million of council tax payers’ money is spent each year in the Bristol area on road resurfacing which can melt in hot weather.
Hundreds of roads and streets are sprayed with wet tar and covered with chippings in an annual programme of highway maintenance.
But in some cases the tar melts and residents walk the sticky chippings into their homes, causing damage to carpets and floors.
In Bristol last year, 102 roads were re-dressed at a cost of £355,000. This year, the council is expecting to do the same with 87 roads, costing about £325,000.
In South Gloucestershire, the council has spent about £456,000 while North Somerset, the cost is about £200,000.
A North Somerset spokeswoman said that most of their surface dressing was carried out in rural areas, not in towns and residential streets.
She said: “We don’t tend to use this form of road repair very much because we don’t feel it stands up to the turning movements of cars.
“We use it more in rural areas where cars are not turning their wheels so much.”
She said the sum of £200,000 should be seen in the context of nearly £5 million spent by the council on highway maintenance each year.
The annual cost of resurfacing has been condemned by Bristol campaigner Antony Jefferies who is fighting for compensation after he claimed his new carpets were ruined at his home in Norton Road, Knowle.
He said: “This is just a sheer waste of money.
“I just don’t understand why they bothered to do it in my road as they have made it worse than it was. It was perfectly all right, they should have left it alone.”
Mr Jefferies, 51, says the council should pay him the £1,300 cost of replacing the carpets after walking sticky chippings into his home. He is also claiming £544 for a new windscreen because a chipping was lodged behind the windscreen wiper which caused a large semi-circular scratch.
He has won the support of former city lord mayor Chris Davies who lives in the same road.
Councillor Davies, who represents Knowle ward, has taken up the issue with the council and demanded a site inspection.
Tory leader Councillor Peter Abraham said: “This kind of resurfacing is one of the most hated things that the council does.
“But if it is not done, then the road surface deteriorates and costs more in the long run to repair. It’s important that the work is carried out properly and, if not, then residents should let us know.”
Residents in Downend, which lies in South Gloucestershire, have mounted a petition for their road to be resurfaced after a similar problem.
The residents in Downend Park Road are fed up with walking chippings into their homes, too.
A similar process of spraying wet tar and spreading chippings was carried out last year.
But they say the problem will only be resolved by resurfacing the road again.
The AA has defended the practice of resurfacing by saying that it makes the roads safer.
An AA spokesman said: “If the roads are not properly maintained, then the surface can become slippery and vehicles are more liable to skid which can cause an accident.”