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Pothole row breaks out over new Lancashire road repair policy

Posted on - 4th February, 2018 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, Roads, Transport
A recently reported pothole on the corner of the Blackpool Road/Tulketh Road junction Pic: FixMyStreet
A recently reported pothole on the corner of the Blackpool Road/Tulketh Road junction Pic: FixMyStreet

A new proposal for the time taken to repair potholes in Preston and Lancashire is set for further debate by councillors.

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The Labour group, along with the Liberal Democrats and Independent councillors, have asked Lancashire County Council to ‘think again’ on their new pothole repair policy.

The Conservative administration had moved to scrap the previous policy, under Labour, of aiming to repair 90 per cent of all carriageway and footway defects within 20 working days.

A new system would see potholes which are reported as being 15cm or greater in depth and 30cm wide fixed within one working day. The county council then has a sliding scale for fixing potholes within a five day, 10 day and 20 day target.

Read more: The Adelphi Square plan will ‘have to include controlled crossings’

What the opposition have to say

Labour’s deputy leader and the man previous in charge of county highways county councillor John Fillis said:”Lancashire County Council have increased the time it will take to fix a pothole, while attempting to mislead the public with statistics that do not identify how long it really takes to fix a pothole from a member of the public reporting, to the work being done.

“The previous Labour Administration agreed to repair 90% of all carriageway and footway potholes reported within 20 working days. The Conservative administration have now changed the measurement to the starting time from the day it’s identified by the inspector.

“This does not seem much on paper but the time it takes to have a reported pothole inspected has not been specified. Waiting for the pothole to be inspected could be a week or even two weeks and even longer during the winter time. This is a complete and utter fudge of the figures to deliberately
mislead the public.

“Under the Labour Administration a target of 90% of potholes fixed within 20 working days was achieved. It was also easy for the public to understand and monitor. The Conservative have now created a matrix that is deliberately confusing but is flawed as it only specifies measurement from the time of inspection. These figures that they will be producing cannot be compared with previous works.

“They cannot hide the appalling state of the roads right across Lancashire behind statistic. The roads are worse than ever with no sign of any improvements. They promised improvements and once again they have failed.”

Read more: ‘Eastway is stuffed’ – what Prestonians think about three months of the Broughton Bypass

The county council’s response

A spokesman for the county council said at the moment no formal request for a call-in on the decision had been made.

Leader of the county council councillor Geoff Driver said: “We have kept the target to repair any pothole within 20 working days – the difference is that we’ve introduced new, more rigorous, targets to repair the worst potholes on the busiest roads more quickly to keep our roads safer.

“We have always measured our performance on repairing potholes from the time they are reported by our own inspectors, or we receive a report from a member of the public, and as was explained in the meeting, nothing has changed in this respect. We are currently revising the policy to make this absolutely clear.

“It is beyond ironic that the Labour and Lib Dem county councillors are complaining about proposals to improve the county council’s performance on repairing potholes. They voted against our proposal to increase the repairs budget this year by £5m and it will be interesting to see if they support our plans to increase the budget by a further £5m next year which will be considered by council next week.”

Read more: How Broughton’s road layout could be changing again

How to report a pothole

You can use the free website and app FixMyStreet which allows you to put a pin in a map to say where the pothole is, and then it sends the report to the county council.

This keeps a public log of the potholes so you can see when they get fixed and how many people are reporting them.

You can also report potholes directly to Lancashire County Council using their online report it function.

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