Powys Council is to apply for up to £6 million from the UK Government to tackle the state of the county's roads.

The council is putting together bids from the new Levelling Up Fund to help address problems that have seen Powys named the worst authority in Wales for road conditions.

The plans were revealed at a meeting of the economy, residents and community scrutiny committee on Thursday, June 10.

It arose during a discussion on the two-year, £2 million Covid Recovery Fund cash, which included £1.8 million from the Welsh Government to cover pandemic costs,

Of this £340,000 a year will go on fixing potholes.

The bid was revealed by corporate director for economy and environment, Nigel Brinn, who said: “We know we have a deteriorating network, and we will have put in quite a significant bid for capital financing from the levelling up fund to support our network.

“In terms whether recovery means the visitor economy or access to services we all appreciate how important the network work is.”

County Times: Powys County Council - Director of Economy and Environment, Nigel BrinnPowys County Council - Director of Economy and Environment, Nigel Brinn

Mr Brinn added: “We have identified three specific schemes to go into our levelling up funding proposal, the work being done is very good given the time available and it’s a strong and credible case why we need particular support for our extensive network.

Head of highways Matt Perry pointed out that the £340,000 from the Covid Recovery Fund, is “quite small the grand scheme” of highway maintenance.

Mr Perry said: “We’re looking in the region for five to six million just to confirm the resurfacing works and invest in those areas of the highways network so that it boosts the local economy.”

Council leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris, said: “We’ll bid for more as part of the levelling up funding, obviously we’ve had all those years of austerity when we were unable to invest in roads and we are aware that there is an opportunity for us to bring things back up to a standard that will help the economy.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Mathew Dorrance, asked for evidence of how the potholes were affecting rural businesses.

Mr Brinn answered that many campsites and visitor attractions are in rural locations.

Cllr Dorrance said: “What that is, is further evidence that the council through its Highways Asset Management Plan (HAMP) is underfunded.

“The reality is we have not put enough money in it and we’re having to boost it with this additional funding."

Bids for the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, which is seen as a replacement for European grant funding. need to be backed by local MPs and submitted to Westminster by June 18.

The money needs to be used by March 31, 2022.

It is seen as a precursor to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is said to be worth £4.8 billion and will be launched in 2022.

In September the cabinet removed £2.6 million from the £5 million annual roads budget, but a £1.5 million Welsh Government grant meant this fell to £3.9 million rather than £2.4million.

This money should be put back into the HAMP over the next two financial years.