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158 pothole complaints made in Tower Hamlets in 2018, figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2019

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The council spent more than £1million repairing roads last year, figures have revealed.

But angry motorists and cyclists still sent 158 gripes to Tower Hamlets Council after coming a cropper because of potholes in 2018 according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In all eight claims for vehicle damage were made by road users who came a cropper on the borough’s streets over the same period but only two succeeding forcing the council to pay out less than £1,500 in total, the figures show.

This compares to 43 claims in neighbouring Newham with eight payouts over the same period.

Tower Hamlets Council supplied the FSB business lobby group with the details after it made a freedom of information request.

The figures also show the council spent £1,360,000 maintaining its roads last year.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “Since 2015, there has been a steady decline in the number of potholes from 347 to 59 in 2018.

“Due to substantial investment and a priority based capital resurfacing programme we have carried out a number of carriageway resurfacing schemes plus footway reconstruction over the past year.

“This work has not only reduced the amount of potential insurance claims but improved the visual appearance and increased the lifespan of its highways.”

He added that more works to the borough’s roads are being planned for next year.

Sue Terpilowski, the FSB’s London policy chairman, said: “Potholes are not only a danger to road users. They cause costly repairs, traffic congestion and bottlenecks, leading to disruption for smaller businesses and the self-employed.

“Most small businesses rely on their local roads. Highways maintenance needs to be a priority.”

She urged the council to introduce a simpler way for road users to report problems, track them and submit claims.

Potholes can be reported at the council’s website.

The RAC reported there were half a million potholes reported in 2018, a rise of 44 per cent on the year before.

Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy, described the figures as shocking and warned the problem was even greater than the numbers show.

In last autumn’s Budget, chancellor Phillip Hammond pledged £420million towards tackling the country’s growing pothole epidemic.

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