£7m a year battle to fix Lancashire’s potholes

editorial image
  • 79,000 reported every year across Lancashire
  • £30,000 paid out in compensation to drivers
  • County is worst in NW for road defects
Have your say

More than £7m a year is being spent repairing Lancashire’s pothole riddled roads.

An investigation has found that the red rose county’s roads are the worst in the North West, with county hall chiefs shelling out a whopping £7,138,452 fixing the 79,000 reported potholes in 2016.

Today, road users, parents and motoring experts have all hit out on the ongoing problem of Lancashire’s grotty roads and say ‘years of neglect’ are putting drivers at risk and wasting taxpayers cash.

One mother, Claire Reynolds, from Penwortham, said the road outside her house is so bad she “dreads to think of the consequences” of her children coming off their bikes on one of the potholes.

And Adam Walton, secretary of local bike club Millennium 2000 BC, said he’d had “quite a few close calls” where he was nearly thrown from his bike because of the state of the roads.

A total of 79,284 potholes were reported in the county in 2016, totalling more than 3,000 metres in depth - the equivalent of 66% of all potholes reported in the north west (120,748) and measuring more than 18 and a half times the depth of the English Channel.

Lancashire's pot hole blackspots Linton Street, Fulwood

Lancashire's pot hole blackspots Linton Street, Fulwood

Speaking to the Post, a spokesman from road experts the AA said: “This is a product of councils in the 1990s not spending their money on the roads that they should have done. This is the chicken coming home to roost.”

Successful compensation claims accounted for almost a quarter of all in the north west, with £29,075 paid to affected motorists.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, the company behind the figures, said: “If drivers experience a bump in the road, they should report it to their local council as soon as possible before the problem gets any worse.

“The cost of motoring alone is getting more and more expensive and damage repairs is a big contributor to this, as car parts increase in price as well.”

“The cost of motoring alone is getting more and more expensive and damage repairs is a big contributor to this, as car parts increase in price as well.

Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, coun Keith Iddon, said: “Lancashire’s highways network is the biggest in the North West, over 4,400 miles in length, so it’s no surprise that we figure highly in a survey like this, however we also spend more to maintain them and prevent potholes appearing.

“We recognise how important roads are to our economy, ensuring people and goods can travel efficiently, and are investing a further £5m in highway maintenance this year on top of the funding we receive from the Department for Transport, adding up to a budget in excess of £24m for 2017/18.

“We expect to spend around £4m on repairs to potholes with the majority of the funding for planned maintenance which helps to prevent them in the first place.

“Our approach to road maintenance is based on using accurate survey data to ensure we carry out the right treatment at the right time to prevent them deteriorating to the stage where lots of potholes are appearing and more costly repairs are needed.”

Lancashire's pot hole blackspots Brownley Street, Clayton-le-Woods

Lancashire's pot hole blackspots Brownley Street, Clayton-le-Woods

In September, the Post reported how the County Council is cutting £45m in public spending but that the cash-strapped authority is pledging to invest more money in buses, road repairs and social services, with an extra £1m going to bus services and £3m to a resurfacing programme for residential roads.

What the experts say

The apparent disgregard for roads and their ongoing deterioriation should be of no shock to anybody, according to industry experts the AA.

An AA spokesman said: “The way to deal with potholes is to resurface roads but that has to duel problem attached to it. Councils will wait until the condition gets bad enough to resurface the whole strech and then have to have the money available to do so.

“What we are seeing is that councils are running out of money already before ther winter months. If they don’t find the money it starts hitting them in compensation claims.

“This is a product of councils in the 1990s not spending their money on the roads that they should have done. This is the chicken coming home to roost - they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

One hole on Kensington Avenue

One hole on Kensington Avenue

“The government has given emergency funding and will continue to have to give it but it needs to find more money and also check how it is being spent.”

They added: “Councils have to know that potholes are there for compensation. People are becoming aware that to claim or get things moving they need to report them. People turning to thats is going from a necessity to desperation point.”

Two-wheeled worries

The neverending issue of potholes is a problem for all road users.

But for those on two and three wheels the dangers are even more pronounced, according to one local bike club.

Secretary of Millennium 2000 BC Bike Club, Adam Walton, told the Post of potholes dangers to bikes and trikes.

He said: “It’s hard to avoid potholes, especially when riding in groups where you are close to each other.

The 30-year-old added: “I’ve had quite a few close calls where I’ve nearly lost control and come off my bike.

It’s bad for trikes too. You can’t avoid them as you can with a bike.”

The Ribbleton resident said: “It’s a waste of time to report them to the council.”

Concerned parents

Parents say neglected road surfaces are endangering their children as they play outdoors.

Penwortham resident Claire Reynolds contacted the Post over the condition of the road she lives on, Kensington Avenue, having previously raising concerns to Lancashire County Council last year.

Claire said: “It’s been going on for 18 months now and I’ve been getting absolutely nowhere It looks such a bloody mess. It’s a really good area and making the road look awful.

“It concerns me that my son, who is 10 years old, and his friends ride their bikes down here and will go down in the potholes. I dread to think of the consequences.

“Lots down my street have raised similar concerns. I’ve spoken to four other houses and no one is happy.

“County Coun David Howarth even wrote to me saying how he’d done all he could but to no avail.”

She added: “This last week the council they have come round and filled in the holes with tarmac, but it will come out again. It’s a quick fix and the road needs resurfacing.”

Derelict roads

Some roads are disintegrating due to no government authority having the responsibility to maintain them. This is the case on Brownley Street in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, a cul-de-sac which has been left to decay, resulting in potholes in all areas of the road. The government states “for most unadopted residential roads the duty to maintain it falls to the frontagers – the owners of the property fronting that road, which may include those where the side, or length, of their property fronts the unadopted road.”