More than £240,000 spent on fixing potholes in West Northamptonshire during 2021, figures reveal

A pothole expert says the council inherited a huge road maintenance backlog

By Carly Odell
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 4:01 pm
WNC spent more than £240,000 on repairing potholes in 2021.
WNC spent more than £240,000 on repairing potholes in 2021.

Nearly a quarter of a million pounds were spent on filling in potholes across the West Northamptonshire area in 2021, figures reveal.

In an Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by Chronicle & Echo, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) revealed how many potholes have been reported, how many have been repaired, how much was spent on repairing the issues and how much was paid out in compensation due to incidents related to potholes.

The data refers to the 12 months between November 1, 2020 and November 1, 2021 - a time period that includes data from the now defunct Northampton Borough Council, South Northamptonshire Council and Daventry District Council.

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Mark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole.

The data:

-West Northamptonshire Council says 18,858 potholes have been repaired in the 12 months specified across the unitary area.

-Data for the whole county (not just the West Northamptonshire area) shows 15,427 potholes were reported.

-Fixing more than 18,000 potholes cost the council £242,590.72 in the 12 months specified.

-In the same time period, Northampton received the most reports about potholes with 857. Daventry was second with 105, Brackley third with 91. Duston received 57, which was the fourth highest and Long Buckby was fifth with 55.

-In those 12 months, the council paid £59,776.12 in compensation relating to incidents when the cause was listed as a pothole. However, this data relates to money paid during the time frame irrespective of when the incident took place. The incident could have happened in early 2020 or earlier.

What does an expert make of the data?

Mr Pothole is a former councillor and Mayor of Brackley who has campaigned nationwide for several years for more to be done to keep the country's road surfaces in good repair.

Mark Morrell, also known as Mr Pothole, from Brackley said: “It is not going away and it is only getting worse.

“In terms of fixing potholes, it is important to know that means they have been made safe and the best they can achieve at that moment. These could only be semi-permanent solutions.

“It means that a lot more money needs spending to make sure they are fully repaired.”

Mr Pothole went on to explain that most roads last around 20 years, but that many in the area are 60 to 70 years old.

He added: “WNC has inherited a total roads maintenance backlog of £250 to 300 million, with no real way to clear it and this year had a funding cut from central Government.

“We need central Government to invest in the roads rather than HS2.

“Roads are used everyday and people are fed up with them.

“I also believe WNC should invest capital funds to improve the volume of work with their limited revenue budgets.”

In an ideal world, Mr Pothole says a capital investment of £1 million into repair equipment would ‘pay for itself in under two years’. Tools such as thermal repair kits, a three-in-one PotholePro that reduces the time it takes to mend potholes and jetpatchers, which are spray injection for road repairs, would be on his recomennded list.

He believes investment in kit such as this, will help potholes to be fixed permanently and improve the overall state of repair of the road network.