Council to repair 6,000 potholes in Stoke-on-Trent roads blitz

Council chiefs have launched a blitz on Stoke-on-Trent's potholes - and aim to carry out 6,000 repairs in six months. Leaders at Stoke-on-Trent City Council admit that roads in the Potteries have been neglected and many 'aren't drivable', but insist that government funding cuts are to blame.

The authority has received around 6,000 complaints about the state of Stoke-on-Trent's roads over the last 12 months. It has had to pay £371,914 in compensation to 978 drivers due to pothole damage to vehicles since 2020, with 403 successful claims last year alone.

Now council leaders have launched a campaign to tackle the issue across the city's highways this summer, and say that a more 'proactive' approach in future will prevent things getting this bad again. Earlier this year the government announced that Stoke-on-Trent would receive £19.1 million a year of re-allocated HS2 funding, over seven years from 2025, with pothole repairs being among the areas where the money can be spent.

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Labour councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for city pride, enforcement and sustainability, said that while this new funding would not be available until next April, the council would be starting its pothole crackdown now.

He said: "I don't want to come out blaming others, but as you know, we have been struggling for funds. But we have seen that there are big demands from the residents and road users for something to be done. We can see the condition of the roads. Some aren't drivable any more. So we decided to put everything else aside and give the roads the priority.

"Our target is 6,000 repairs of road defects in six months. We will try to do all the defects wherever they are, and we encourage our residents to report them.

"The problems with our roads started 12 years ago, not one year ago. Our budget has been cut by more than £80 million in the last five years or so. But after our administration took over last year we have been prioritising what our residents want, and we will try our best to deliver. We will be proactive once the six months after over. So we should never get to this stage again."

Council officials gathered in Dividy Road, Bentilee, on Tuesday morning to officially launch the DRIVE campaign - which stands for deliver, restore, invest, versatile and effective. They watched a highways team carry out repairs to potholes in the road using machines such as the JCB Pothole Pro.

The team included James Harper, who has more than 14,000 followers on his 'Highway Harper' Instagram account, which documents the job of maintaining Stoke-on-Trent's roads. James says having a machine like the Pothole Pro, which can cut, crop and clean potholes, means more repairs can be carried out.

He said: "This has repaired 7,224 potholes last year with just four operatives, which was a record amount of defects taken off the network, so it's phenomenal for us. There's the speed, but also the health and safety benefits as well. But this is just a small proportion of the work that's going on. There will be hand crews out there doing little potholes. Our lads are dedicated and will work in all sorts of weather to bring the network up to that safety standard."

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