A study in to the condition of Cheshire’s local road network has been published today by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The annual research piece – now in its fourth successive year – uses Freedom of Information (FOI) requests at both Cheshire West & Cheshire East councils to ascertain the number of complaints concerning potholes. It also looks at the number of legal claims for motor vehicle damage caused by potholes, as well as money spent on repairing local roads.
The research reveals Cheshire East showing considerable improvement compared to last year for pothole complaints, as well as a significant increase in money spent on road repairs. However, for the third year in succession, Chester Road in Poynton was the most complained about road in Cheshire East LA area.
In Cheshire West the number of complaints concerning potholes has increased from 3,200 in 2015/16, 5,307 in 2016/17, to 12,833 in 2017/18. Correspondingly, the number of legal claims for damage caused by potholes more than doubled in a year, from 241 in 2016/17 to 602 last year. Investment in road repairs in the region was roughly the same last year as 2016/17.
In Cheshire West, the most complained about road title went to the rural village of Moulton, near Northwich, whose Main Street attracted the highest number of complaints.
FSB Development Manager Robert Downes said road networks were vital trade routes key to local economies, but which in some areas now required urgent investment. “Small businesses need free flowing, well-maintained road networks to compete and grow, particularly in rural areas where there is more of a reliance on motor vehicles,” he said.
“Poorly maintained infrastructure hampers growth and presents a low rent image which can be a turnoff for investors. So while it’s easy to dismiss potholes as an irrelevance, or a ‘nice to have’, they are actually rather important.”
He added: “Our research shows the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’, remains true, and I think especially in Cheshire West road users there must be feeling hard done by. While it’s a rosier picture in Cheshire East, I suspect businesses and residents in Poynton will be less than impressed at the state of some of their roads.”