Welcoming additional Highways Funding from UK Government

As Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport for Worcestershire County Council, I am delighted to announce that Worcestershire County Council has been allocated an additional £3,331,200 for highways maintenance and pothole repair funding in the 2023-2024 financial year.

This funding will enable us to further improve the safety and condition of our roads, as well as reduce the number of potholes and other defects that can cause damage to vehicles and pose a risk to road users. With this funding, we will continue to adopt a risk-based whole lifecycle asset management approach, which means that we will use data and analytics to prioritise and plan maintenance and repairs based on the condition and age of our assets.

This approach ensures that we use our resources effectively and efficiently, prolonging the life of our assets and minimizing disruption to road users.

By using this approach, we ensure that our limited resources are directed towards the areas of greatest need.

In addition to pothole repair, we will use this funding to carry out a range of maintenance works across our highway network, including resurfacing, patching, and drainage works. We will also invest in new technology and innovations, such as smart sensors and digital mapping, to help us better understand the condition of our assets and make more informed decisions about maintenance and repairs.

The additional funding will allow us to address more of the backlog of road maintenance and pothole repair work in the county. We will use the funds to repair and resurface roads, fix potholes, and carry out other necessary maintenance work across the county. This will not only improve the condition of our roads but also make them safer for everyone who uses them.

At the same time, we will continue to take a proactive approach to highways maintenance. By regularly monitoring the condition of our assets, we can identify issues early on and take action before they become more serious and costly to repair. This approach helps us to make the most of our available resources and keep our roads in the best possible condition.

As Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I am committed to ensuring that Worcestershire County Council continues to deliver high-quality highways services that meet the needs of our communities. This additional funding will enable us to build on our previous successes and ensure that our roads remain safe and well-maintained for years to come.

Enhancements to the 144A Bus Service in Bromsgrove

The 144A service between Bromsgrove and Birmingham is being improved.

The service will now run hourly from Bromsgrove via Rubery, Longbridge and Northfield to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, with buses also going to run on a Sunday.
The National Express-run service will be enacting the changes from April 16 2023.

I’m delighted that the future of this much-loved service has been secured for people in Bromsgrove.
This new service will run every hour, rather than every 70 minutes as it is now, which is great news for bus users.
We also expect that this will help to grow patronage further and make it a far more viable option for the majority of passengers.
The County Council went out to tender to bus companies in February 2023 allowing operators to bid for the opportunity to deliver the service on its behalf.

In April last year, First Bus made changes to the 144 service which saw it stop at Catshill, and not travel onwards to Birmingham. National Express then agreed to run the service between Bromsgrove, Rubery and Longbridge, replacing the sections lost from the changes to the 144 service.

Since then, Worcestershire County Council has funded the replacement service from Bromsgrove Bus Station to Rubery and Longbridge, where bus users can connect to frequent services onward to Birmingham. 

B4090 Droitwich Road (Feckenham) Closure for patching works from 20th April – 3rd May 2023

There will be a closure of the Droitwich Road (B4090) near Feckenahm from 20th April until 3rd May 2023 so that Worcestershire County Council can carry out patching works to the highway, which will fill potholes and repair any particularly worn sections of the highway.

Useful documents

Works are subject to change due to weather – all highways works are weather dependent.

The formal diversion route is based on like-for-like. The closure affects a B classification of road, so the diversion route must also stick to B classifications or above. If you know of a more suitable route for you then you are welcome to use that instead.

Western Hill Close Resurfacing

County Councillors Craig Warhurst and Mike Rouse are delighted to announce that WESTERN HILL CLOSE in Astwood Bank is now scheduled for resurfacing works.

The works are due to commence on 17th April until 21st April 2023, and will require closure of the carriageway and for any vehicles to be moved. Signs and notices will be posted in the coming weeks to prepare for these works.

BEWARE: All highways work is weather dependent, along with other factors including supply and staffing. The exact dates for the resurfacing job is subject to change – and if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic it’s that nothing goes as smoothly as expected these days.

ALSO: Be aware that preparation works may start in early April – this will be patching works, mostly likely on the footway next to the road, but you should not be alarmed that this is the full extent of the works.

Craig and Mike have worked closely with Redditch Borough Councillor Brandon Clayton to bring forward these works. It has taken us some time to get the job on the work schedule, which is priority-scored. We have sought assurances that the work will definitely be done this spring.

Subscribe to this blog to get notifications about new posts sent straight to your inbox. Any problems with the works, or any questions, please email mrouse@worcestershire.gov.uk and cwarhurst@worcestershire.gov.uk so we can help.

Active Travel Funding Win


As the Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport, I am thrilled to announce that Worcestershire County Council has secured £162,519 in capacity funding from Active Travel England. This funding will allow us to develop further planning documents, known as Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs), to facilitate improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure in more areas of Worcestershire.

Collaborating with district-level councils, we will utilise these plans to create safe and accessible cycling and walking routes, which will not only benefit our environment but also improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. Regular exercise through active travel can help to prevent a range of health conditions, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, and by promoting cycling and walking, we can empower our residents to take control of their own health and wellbeing.

As a Conservative-led council, we are committed to promoting sustainable modes of transport. Encouraging active travel can significantly reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, helping us to achieve our environmental goals. Additionally, improving cycling and walking infrastructure can reduce congestion on our roads, improving the flow of traffic for those who rely on cars for essential journeys. This can boost productivity and support economic growth, attracting businesses to the area and creating jobs.

We understand that investing in active travel infrastructure is particularly important for rural areas like Worcestershire. With longer travel distances and limited public transport options, many residents are reliant on cars to get around. By offering residents a viable and affordable alternative, we can provide them with a better quality of life and promote a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, this funding award from Active Travel England is a significant step forward in our efforts to promote sustainable modes of transport and improve the health, wellbeing, and prosperity of our residents. We will continue to work collaboratively with our district-level councils to develop effective local cycling and walking infrastructure plans that meet the needs of our communities and encourage positive modal choices. Together, we can create a brighter, healthier, and more sustainable future for Worcestershire.

Links to coverage of this story elsewhere

Fly Tipping Patch Lane

As per my Twitter, I was disappointed to see a dump of goods on Patch Lane this morning.

Civic Service for Worcestershire County Council at Worcester Cathedral

Every year, the Chairman of the County Council lays on a ‘Civic Service’. I’ve tried googling for what this means, but couldn’t really find any decent explainers. To my mind, it’s a bit like an annual ‘assembly’ for councillors and council officials – a reference for those of us who remember singing ‘All things great and small’ in a school sports hall first thing in the morning.

It’s a good opportunity to reflect, to listen to the sermon, and to meet up with colleagues across the political board.

Welcoming the Science and Technology Framework

The government has today announced a new framework to bolster science and technology. Whilst it doesn’t specifically mention flying cars and there’s no push for Star Trek-style warp drive, I know I have to temper my ambitions for humanity to reach for the stars. As a stepping stone, however, it will do nicely.

Skip the press fluff and head for the detail in the document itself. Here you will find the portfolio of technologies deemed critical:

  • Artificial Intelligence. We will need that for the flying cars.
  • Engineering biology. Helping us stay fit and healthy in space.
  • Future telecommunications. Ground control to Major Tom.
  • Semiconductors. The Norwegians do these very well. No reason we can’t too.
  • Quantum technologies. Beam me up, Scotty!

Also good to see regulation and standards baked into the framework, including a commitment to move fast when it comes to establishing the rules for critical technologies, and to do more horizon-scanning to support regulators to consider how emerging technologies can become critical technologies.

Campaigning Saturday 4 March 2023

With local elections coming up on Thursday 4 May 2023 it’s time to hit the campaign trail. I was out supporting Tom Baker-Price this morning. Then, this afternoon I went to Bromsgrove to help out over there.

In Redditch, Tom Baker-Price is standing in the Headless Cross and Oakenshaw ward for Redditch Borough Council (a District level council). His ward falls under my County Council Division of Redditch South (the principle tier of local government in our area, covering highways and other county-wide strategic matters).

Tom’s local council brief covers trees, anti-social behaviour, housing, planning, and the sense of place for our neighbourhoods – amongst many others things including the all-important bins, parks and open spaces.

Tom’s record over the last 4 years has been exemplary. He attends the meetings, he contributes and he makes representations on behalf of his residents. He has a good working relationship with me as one of his County Councillors, passing on casework relating to highways matters for instance.

You couldn’t ask for a better local ward councillor for Headless Cross and Oakenshaw. So please do give Tom your support – either in person on Thursday 4th May or sooner if you vote by post.

Evesham Bus Forum

As part of my additional responsibilities as Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I was pleased to attend a bus forum meeting arranged by Cllr Julie Tucker at Evesham Town Hall on Thursday 2 March 2023. Thank you to everyone who attended.

I spoke for around 30 minutes, and took around 45 minutes of questions. We covered a lot of ground from community transport to Demand Responsive Transport and beyond.

I wish to correct the record following this meeting. Towards the end of the session, I answered a question about walking and cycling improvements and incorrectly said that the Evesham Local Walking & Cycling Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) had been brought back to the table to be progressed following a funding announcement. In fact, it is Droitwich, Pershore, Malvern Hill, Worcester City and Bromsgrove that will be progressed by the County Council as part of a recent funding announcement. I have enquired on the status of Evesham and will post an update once I have more details.