Campaigner 'Mr Pothole' says our roads are getting worse as councils cut repair budgets

  • Rebecca Haworth has been looking into the state of the roads in Northamptonshire.

Potholes could become an even more familiar sight on our roads because of a lack of council funding to fix them, a new report has found.

The County Councils Network predicts that 85% of local authorities might have to axe funding for road improvements due to rising costs.

Northamptonshire campaigner Mark Morrell, also known as 'Mr Pothole' say there is a "massive backlog" in road maintenance across the county.

"The roads have been lacking investment for decades, hence we see patch and repair, patch and repair, when long-term investment is needed," said Mr Morrell.

"I believe it's getting to the stage now where councils and highways authorities have not got the funding to meet their legal obligations under the highways act to keep our roads safe."

The County Councils Network says local authorities are cutting road repair budgets. Credit: ITV News Anglia

West Northamptonshire Council says it is investing an extra £1 million over the next year as part of its new highways service.

Mechanic Ian Bray, owner of Ian's Autos in Brackley, said potholes are a costly problem for motorists.

"It's an everyday occurrence for most garages to see multiples, if not 10 to 12 vehicles a week, with broken springs from the conditions of the roads and the punishment they're getting at the moment.

"It's just getting very costly for the motorist to keep their cars on the road and keep them safe because the roads aren't in a safe standard for the vehicles to run on."

Now the County Councils Network is calling on the government to intervene in next week's budget and provide £500m of new funding.

Tim Oliver, Chairman of the County Councils Network, said: “We understand the public finances are tight, but county roads are the arteries of England’s economy and council investment plans are vital to supporting local growth.

"This is why we are calling on the Chancellor to provide at least £500m additional funding for roads maintenance. This will allow us to get shovels in the ground for deferred schemes to help get our economy moving.”

In response to concerns about the state of roads in West Northamptonshire, the council said it was investing an extra £1 million next year.

Cllr Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways, and Waste, said: “As part of setting a balanced budget for 23/34 we listened and responded to many comments as part of the budget consultation which recognised the financial pressures due to inflation and increasing demand for services.

"Having analysed the thousands of comments we’ve received, we’ve looked at how we can do more to address many concerns raised by residents on the condition of the roads and potholes, which we know have been a particular issue this winter.

"As we continue to shape our new highways service, we are investing an extra £1m in 23/24 which will be a further boost towards our planned improvements for the year ahead.

"There is a vast amount of work to do to improve the overarching conditions of the roads across West Northamptonshire, but this investment is a step in the right direction towards this work.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know