A study in to conditions of the local road network in Greater Manchester has been published today by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The annual research piece – now in its fourth successive year – used Freedom of Information (FOI) requests at all local authorities in GM to ascertain the number of recorded complaints concerning potholes for the year 2017/18. The study also reveals the number of legal claims made for damage to motor vehicles caused by potholes, and how much money individual councils spent on local road repairs (full results for GM in table below).
Councils were also asked to identify the most complained about roads in their area, which showed Nuttall Road in Ramsbottom identified for the second years on the bounce as the most complained about road in Bury; as was the M24 postcode area in Rochdale, and Chadderton Park Road, Chadderton, Oldham.
Trumping that though is Huddersfield Rd in Stalybridge, which has now been the most complained about road in Tameside for three consecutive years (pictured).
The research identifies Salford for the 3rd year running as the local authority with the smoothest tarmac when measured by fewest complaints. The authority notched up 1,003 complaints relating to damaged road surfaces (potholes). Wigan came second with 1,820, while Stockport came third with 2,018.
At the other end of the table, Manchester City Council, which despite having the second highest spend on road repairs after Stockport, came bottom with 8,183 complaints – 2,309 more than the previous year. Just behind Manchester was Bolton with 7,119, then Bury with 4,574.
FSB Development Manager for Greater Manchester, Robert Downes, said local road networks underpinned the success of local economies, but in many areas they were not up to standard and required more investment.
“It’s easy to dismiss potholes as an irrelevance, or to think of a well-maintained roads infrastructure as a ‘nice to have’, but the issue is actually rather important.”
“Small businesses need free flowing, well-maintained road networks to compete and grow, but these figures suggest it’s still something of a postcode lottery here in GM. On the back of a particularly cold winter, coupled with a scorching summer, councils will need to pay particular attention to crumbling roads this autumn – especially those roads where they know a problem already exists.
“We’d also like councils to make it easier for people to report a problem so small issues don’t become big ones requiring major repair work and subsequent delays – the data shows repairs are not carried out in a timely fashion. We know longer journey times impact on productivity levels, affects profit margins, and can be a turn off for investors. Gridlocked roads just adds to the general transport malaise many road users in GM are only too familiar with.
He added: “I’m not sure what Salford are doing, but they may want to share the secret of their success with other councils. To have the fewest number of complaints for three years running, and not a single pay-out for damage to a motor vehicle in the last year, is really something. Congratulations Salford – again!”
Data relates to the financial year 2017/18. Figures in brackets relate to 2016/17.
And previous years’ results…