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I Read the news today… fifteen thousand holes in Greater Manchester.
Tuesday 13th September 2016 @ 17:47 by Nigel P.
Business News



If the news about holes in Greater Manchester is very sad… to paraphrase a well known Beatles song, then it could be worrying about Tameside.

The Borough admits to a ten percent share of all the pot hole complaints across the county, not the worst by any maxim, but with an increase of 100 per cent of new complaints about road pot holes since last year, there is no room for complacency.

The worst hot spot in the borough was Mottram Road where most complaints came from, following on from Yew Tree Road in Dukinfield the previous year .

Tameside is by far one of  the least affected areas affected by bad road holes across in Greater Manchester new research based on Freedom of Information requests shows

In that respect the worst has to be Oldham with 3594 holes compared with only 1484 in Tameside a borough with a similar size population and an area just a little smaller.

Manchester, Stockport ,Trafford and Bolton and Bury come next, registering between 3500 and just over 2000 holes each.

The holes are not just irritating when interrupting a smooth drive, they cost drivers millions of pounds every year in  replacement tyres and worn shock absorbers.

It also costs business in delayed deliveries, as the poor state of the roads slows traffic,as they deliver goods and services across the region.

There is no room for complacency and though concern for Tameside’s roads fall well behind the worst areas, the borough had a very disturbing  rise in complaints about holes from 752 in 2014 to the current total all almost twice that amount(1484).

So where other authorities are spending money and improving their  road standards, Tameside it seems is danger of falling behind, unless it starts to invest in its roads maintenance programme.

However there may be another factor at work in the case of Tameside.

We can report that perhaps the reason for the exponential increase in complaints is because, Tameside Council are making it much easier for the public to report faulty roads.

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “For the past two years we’ve committed to investing an annual sum of £1m into improving the borough’s roads as part of our Pothole Buster Pledge and this is clearly having a positive impact. We realise this is an issue which continually needs monitoring and this year we’ve been proactively raising awareness of how people can report pot holes and other street issues on our website as part of our ‘Do it Online’ communications campaign, which may explain why there has been an increase in the number of pot holes reported.”
Tameside’s spend of £1. 8 million last year, was well behind that of Bolton at £8.5 million which took them from 2500 hole complaints back down to 2000 and 159 less claims as their roads improved.

Again Stockport spending £6.6 million pounds on it’s roads brought the number of hole complaints down by an impressive 18 per cent,

Though it still paid out £20,000 in 47 successful claims, Stockport has done well to reduce the total number of complaints in its area by over 700 last year.

On a positive note for Tameside  it has received fewer claims for damage to motor vehicles caused by potholes in 2014/15 year compared to the previous year paying out a measly £1511 to the 33 car owners who made claims against them,

However, in terms of complaints relating to potholes and other carriageway defects, four Greater Manchester councils saw higher numbers, with five recording less than than the years before.

Manchester City would not disclose the  current figures.

The research also showed only marginal increases in spending on carriageway repairs in 2014/15 compared to the previous year – with just Stockport and Rochdale spending notably less.

Simon Edmondson, Federation of Small Business Regional Chair for Greater Manchester, said: “Our members rely heavily on the local road networks to do business, with employees, customers and trade deliveries relying on fast and efficient networks. Poorly maintained roads impede that.”

“While this research shows councils are, on the whole, making some headway in maintaining our region’s road network to an acceptable standard, there’s still room for improvement.

There were somewhere in the region of 20,000 complaints from the public about damaged roads across the Greater Manchester area in 2014/15 – that figure tells its own story about our roads.”

He added: “The figures also show something of a postcode lottery from borough to borough around the kind of standards you can expect to find. The hope is that devolution in Greater Manchester next year will mean councils will be able to invest more in maintaining highways, and it will hopefully mean a more consistent approach to funding to address the real problem areas.”

The FSB first conducted the research last summer after a poll of its members on local investment needs showed 37% in favour of ‘repairing the region’s roads’, ahead of ‘major transport infrastructure’ (31%), and ‘better apprenticeships’ (24%). FSB repeated the FOI based research this year to see where improvements had been made.

However by far the most complained about in the region was the roads of rural East Cheshire, with  a staggering 6,000 complaints down from 18,000 the previous year. No doubt the 15.6 million paid out on resurfacing went someway to improving the situation there.

But with a lot of the areas roads above a certain height, the roads there obviously suffer more in extremes of winter weather.