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Pothole potty: Payouts rocket as complaints in Bolton reach record high

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Bolton had the second highest damage compensation bill in Greater Manchester and was placed number two for the huge number of complaints the council received about potholes and damaged carriageways.

Complaints about potholes on the borough's roads rose by 5,000 in just 12 months to 7,119 in 2017/18 and the total amount of money paid out for damage claims also increased sharply from £8,731 to £16,940 in the same period.

The worst road for pothole complaints was Chorley Old Road, in 2016/17 it was Manchester Road.

Bolton Council spent £1,778,577 in the financial year from 2017/18 on road repairs according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which obtained the figures. The spend only increased by £533,577 compared to the previous year.

The authority received 240 claims for vehicle damage caused by potholes — up by 42 on the previous year — and paid out on 75 of those claims.

In 2015/16 Chorley Old Road, and Slackey Brow in Kearsley were the most complained about roads.

A council spokesman said: “We share the frustrations of businesses and motorists, and we are doing the best to improve our roads in challenging financial circumstances.

“Funding cuts, consecutive severe winters and a large and ageing road network are all factors behind these figures.

“But despite the pressures we are facing, we invested £5.6m to resurface, maintain and repair our roads in the last financial year.

“We also regularly inspect the road network and people can report potholes on the website.”

Manchester City Council received the highest number of complaints — 8,183 — with Bolton just behind it and number three was neighbouring Bury, where the local authority received 4,574 complaints.

Bury Council footed the highest compensation bill, payout £50, 458.41, which was lower than the previous year's of £61,730.91. The most complained about road continued to be Nuttall Lane in Ramsbottom.

Salford had the fewest complaints for the third year running.

FSB development manager for Greater Manchester, Robert Downes, said: "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."


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