Derbyshire County Council under fire from national pothole protester

Derbyshire County Council says improving the area's roads are a priority.
Derbyshire County Council says improving the area's roads are a priority.

Derbyshire County Council has hit back after coming under a barrage of criticism from a national pothole campaigner.

Mark Morrell – also known as Mr Pothole – questioned whether the council cared about fixing the “dangerous” defects on the county’s roads.

The authority said it had mended 25,000 potholes in the last four months alone – despite facing the toughest budget cuts in its history.

Mr Pothole, who has visited Derbyshire to assess the situation, said: “It appears the council has major problems managing its road network.

“Dangerous potholes are being reported and left for months before repairs of any kind are being carried out.

“Bad defects are not being picked up on during inspections and dealt with to protect the public.

“What is going on? Does anyone care?”

A council spokesman said: “Fixing Derbyshire’s roads is a priority for us and since mid-March we’ve mended around 25,000 potholes.

“However, due to cuts in our budget the amount of money that we have to spend on maintaining our roads is around 50 per cent less than it was six years ago.

“In 2009/10 we spent £17million on highways maintenance, this year we will spend £9m.

“This budget may have to be cut in years to come as our funding from the Government reduces.”

The spokesman added: “Having less money to spend over the past few years has led to some of our roads being in a poor condition.

“To try and stop the damage that has been done we have just started a three-year programme to surface dress hundreds of miles of roads.

“When we get more roads up to a better standard the potholes will stop appearing in the first place.”

Mr Pothole went on to slam the authority for resurfacing its staff car park recently.

He said the money should have been used to repair potholes instead.

The council spokesman responded: “The work at County Hall was to replace the Victorian drainage system, which was collapsing and causing significant damage to the terrace and paths to the main staff car park.

“Once the drains were replaced the areas over the top were resurfaced. The work was only done because of the situation with the drains.”

Mr Pothole called for a public meeting to be held to discuss the state of Derbyshire’s roads.