When is a filled pothole not a filled pothole in Lancashire?

A problem with the system for reporting potholes in Lancashire means that some defects which the public are told have been rectified remain unfilled.

Highways bosses at Lancashire County Council acknowledged the glitch at a meeting of the authority’s internal scrutiny committee.

There are target times for pothole repair depending on their size and location

There are target times for pothole repair depending on their size and location

Liberal Democrat group leader David Whipp said that residents using County Hall’s online “Report It “system are sometimes given inaccurate information about the action which has been taken in response to their complaints about carriageway condition.

“I get extremely frustrated – and so do members of the public – because you’ll report a defect and then when you [later] look back on the system, there is a blue triangle [indicating that the work has been] completed.

“But you then go out and, lo and behold, the massive great pothole is still there,” County Cllr Whipp said.

Lancashire County Council’s head of highways, John Davies, said that the problem had been brought to his attention.

“I’m aware that there is an issue with Report It saying that work has been completed when it’s not actually been done and I’m hoping to address that and hopefully we can rectify [it],” Mr. Davies said.

But members were told that the issue was unlikely to skew the county’s performance figures for its rate of pothole repair, because they are taken from a different operational database.

However, Labour opposition group deputy leader John Fillis, said that the issue was symptomatic of wider public disquiet about the system of reporting potholes.

“I’m getting more and more people coming to me directly and asking me to complain [on their behalf] about highway defects.

“We used to have a multi-access system for reporting them – you could phone or email. But with it now being all targeted to the internet, people are finding it very difficult – when you sit down in front of the computer [to report a problem], it says ‘go and measure the hole, go and stand in the road and do this, that and the other’.

“It’s a four-stage process that you have to go through. It may be the case that we’re not improving the services at all, we’re just restricting people’s access to complain,” County Cllr Fillis said.

POTHOLE PERFORMANCE

The latest figures show that between July and September 2019, Lancashire County Council met three out of its four targets for repairing highway defects according to their severity and the classification of road where they were found.

Emergency safety defects – 4 hour response: target 95 percent; achieved 91.4 percent

Urgent safety defects – 2-day response: target 95 percent, achieved 96.0 percent

Non-urgent safety defects (main routes) – 5-day response: target 90 percent, achieved 94.3 percent

Non-urgent safety defects (local routes) – 20-day response: target: 90 percent, achieved 99.2 percent