NEW papers suggest Herefordshire residents will only see road improvement works near their home if their ward is under Conservative control.

A schedule of work seen by the Hereford Times indicates dozens of road sections are earmarked for either resurfacing or 'surface dressing' in the coming 12 months.

But just four of the 43 jobs that are set to take place are in wards where the county councillor is a member of an opposition party.

Herefordshire Council says no consideration of the political party of ward members is taken into account, although some opponents aren't convinced.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Dinedor Hill councillor David Summers who has long campaigned for improved safety measures on a road in his ward after a bus carrying schoolchildren fell down an embankment, injuring the driver, in November 2014.

"They say there is no money for a safety issue where the bus went over.

"At the end of the day, the Conservatives are going to get what they want."

The bus in question was driving along the B4399 near Holme Lacy when it came off the road.

Balfour Beatty has since carried out work including measures such as 'road narrows' and 'weight limit' warning signs, but Cllr Summers, a member of It's Our county, says more should be done, including permanent barriers.

A fellow opposition member is also calling for a greater distribution of work.

"I'm sure it's a coincidence; unfortunate perhaps, but one would hope for a wider distribution of roadworks in the future," said Cllr Sebastian Bowen, the chairman of the council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

"Some of the roads in my ward are on a par with the third world. If work on the minor roads is not done soon they could soon become impassable.

"The locality stewards are doing their best but our budget has gone down and it does not go very far. It needs to be more equally spent and I think all of us (councillors) have had problems getting work done."

Full council was told earlier this month that just £1.6m would be spent on improving the county's road network in the coming year, down considerably from the £20m invested over the past two years.

A council spokesperson said: "There is no account taken of the political party of the ward councillors in the development of the annual highway maintenance programme.

"The programme is developed independently by Balfour Beatty Living Places on behalf of the council and priorities for investment are identified on the basis of a range of technical factors which include current condition of the road, safety and the importance of the road (A,B,C or U roads).

"This assessment aims to ensure the highway asset is managed in the most cost-effective way bearing in mind the funding available to the council.

"The demand for highway maintenance exceeds the available budget and it is therefore necessary to carry out an annual prioritisation process to target resources in this way."