Huge rise in complaints about roads

A car driving around a pothole
A car driving around a pothole

The number of complaints about Wigan’s roads has rocketed, new figures reveal.

There were 1,616 complaints about potholes and other road defects in the borough in 2015/16.

It is important to understand that most locations of a pot hole or road defects may have been reported more than once and do not necessarily result in any liability

Mark Tilley

That was a massive 146 per cent rise on the 657 reports the year before, according to a new report by the Federation Of Small Businesses (FSB): the second largest increase in complaints when compared to the nine other Greater Manchester boroughs.

But Wigan Council disputes the data and says there was actually a 52 per cent rise from 1,060 to 1,616.

The most complainted-about road in the borough was Westleigh Lane in Leigh. The study also shows more legal claims were made for damage to vehicles caused by potholes, rising by 118 per cent from 28 to 61.

But the increasing problems actually coincided with more money being spent on borough road repairs. A total of £3.2m was spent in 2015/16, rising from £2.67m in the previous year.

The FSB’s annual Freedom of Information Act research, however, sometimes clashes with Department of Transport figures. They say only three per cent of Wigan’s roads were in need of repair in 2016/17, way ahead of the national average of 17 per cent and putting it in the top three councils in the country.

And Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure said: “Having easily accessible functions in place such as the Report It app we have made it much easier for residents to report a number of issues with us including pot holes and other road-related inquiries.

“It is important to understand that most locations of a pot hole or road defects may have been reported more than once and do not necessarily result in any liability or cost for the council.

“We’ve had 1,000 fewer defects identified on the network in 2016/2017 compared to the previous year. In addition the first quarter of this financial year shows the figure falling sharply by 40 per cent from the corresponding period last year. This demonstrates that our network condition has improved.

“We are extremely proud of the hard work that our officers put in on a daily basis to maintain our roads right across the borough, and we are always looking at new and innovative ways in which we can continue to improve resident’s journeys.”

The FSB study revealed 26,524 complaints about potholes in Greater Manchester: 73 per day. Salford attracted the fewest complaints and damage claims. Manchester had the most complaints, while Bury had the most legal claims.