Lancashire County Council accused of ‘cheap and nasty’ pothole practice

A council has been criticised for reverting to a “cheap and nasty” practice of “blobbing” potholes with tar, rather than carrying out more substantial repairs.

Lancashire County Council previously said it would seek to use a new technique to ensure longer-lasting repairs, involving cutting out the area around a pothole and sealing the edges.

However, Preston city councillors were told during a highways briefing by the county authority that it had reverted to using blobs of bitumen over the past 18 months because it was a speedier method.

Liberal Democrat opposition group leader John Potter said that approach risks water finding its way in around the edges of the hole and undoing the repair job.

Lancashire County Council said its techniques vary and that all of its’ repairs are good quality and long lasting.

Mr Potter said: “They are paying people to come out several times to do a pothole, or a pothole that opens up next to a repaired one in a month’s time – instead of doing a proper sealing-off job. It’s a false economy.

“We’ve been asking questions about how the roads have got this bad and now we know. They changed their processes 18 months ago and it’s been a disaster.

“So when cabinet members say, ‘We’ve repaired X amount of potholes,’ that could be the same pothole three times, because they’ve done it in a cheap and nasty way.”

Responding to Cllr Potter’s comments, the county council’s Conservative cabinet member for highways and transport Rupert Swarbrick, told the LDRS: “Our pothole repair policy remains unchanged, with our pothole repair teams working hard to deliver quality repairs that will withstand the test of time.

“We use a wide range of repair methods to make sure we can repair potholes as quickly as possible – and we use the most appropriate repair to suit the location, priority, traffic and weather conditions.

“Not all methods require cutting out of the surrounding surface, as we have innovative materials which are water activated or methods which fill the void then provide a waterproof layer over the top. All of these methods provide a quality, long lasting repair.

“Our cabinet has agreed to invest a further £4m on improving the condition of the highway network and this funding will ensure that areas which have been most impacted by pothole damage can be addressed with much larger patching and small resurfacing schemes ensuring that the network is protected from damage in the future,” County Cllr Swarbrick said.

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