MICHAEL Gove's department has come under fire for spending £330,000 of taxpayers' money on fixing potholes in a Lord's driveway.

Labour’s Lisa Nandy has written to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove demanding whether his department gave the green light to awarding the cash to repair the drive of the 8th Viscount Gage.

The money was taken from the UK Government's Getting Building Fund, part of the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund specifically aimed at helping Covid-hit infrastructure. The Daily Mail reported it was used to fill half a mile of potholes on Lord Gage's land in East Sussex.

The track leads to Charleston Farmhouse, an independently run museum and art gallery within the grounds of his Firle Estate.

The museum, which was the country home of Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell, applied for the funds – even though the drive itself is owned by the millionaire aristocrat.

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Charleston said the road had become increasingly difficult to access by car and claimed the repairs would help support recovery of the local tourist economy.

In the letter to Gove, shadow Levelling Up Secretary Nandy, said: "When he announced the £900 million Getting Building Fund the Prime Minister said the government was determined to put its arms round people in times of crisis.

“Filling in potholes for a Conservative peer surely cannot have been what he meant.

“I would therefore be grateful if you could let me know how this happened and what steps are being taken to ensure it does not happen again.”

Nandy also asked what steps are being taken to ensure local Government representatives were not lobbied over the grant.

A spokesperson for Charleston said: “Charleston is a thriving cultural centre which attracts visitors from around the country and internationally to its year-round programme of exhibitions, festivals, talks, concerts, theatre and workshops.

“The rural access track to Charleston had remained functional for farm traffic but was increasingly unsuitable for visitors travelling in the average family car.

“Working with the South Downs National Park and East Sussex County Council, the charity that runs Charleston successfully applied to the Getting Building Fund to rebuild the access track.

“The new road provides safer, easier, and greener ways for visitors to reach Charleston and will help support the recovery and growth of the region’s creative and visitor economy.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "Charleston is internationally recognised as a site of cultural importance and this funding will help open it up to more visitors and improve its contribution to the local economy."