22nd Feb, 2019

POTHOLES: Coventry council denies survey claim of slowest repair response times in country

Felix Nobes 18th Jan, 2019

COVENTRY City Council has denied being the slowest in the country when it comes to repairing serious potholes.

An RAC Foundation survey claims the council takes five days to respond, two days longer than the next slowest in the Great Britain – with most councils responding in hours.

The survey used data from Freedom of Information requests to 190 councils including Coventry.

But, despite the survey using Coventry council’s own data, the local authority said the RAC Foundation had acted in error.

It added it has a good track record and aims to respond to serious potholes within two hours.

Yet there is no evidence of this on the council’s own website, which gives the fastest response time of five days.

The study shows many councils respond ‘immediately’ to repair potholes that pose the ‘greatest risk’ to the state of the road and the safety of drivers and riders.

But the most common response time to the most urgent problems is two hours, the timescale adopted by 79 councils.

Coventry City Council’s head of highways Neil Cowper said: “In any situation where a pothole is a danger to pedestrians and other traffic users we act as soon as we can get officers to the site, which will usually be within two hours.

“There have been many cases where, on investigation, a pothole has been coned off immediately and an officer has stayed on site to ensure that the area is made safe.

“In Coventry we are also fortunate to have an internal labour force which also speeds up our response – where there are particular concerns.

“We have a team of inspectors who monitor our roads and pavements and they respond quickly to reports of serious defects.

“We have spoken to colleagues at the RAC to advise them of the error in the way they have compiled their statistics.

“We will continue to encourage local residents to report potholes to the team to assist us in managing and maintaining the 870km of roads in our city.”

Coventry council’s website states: “We aim to repair potholes more than 40mm deep within five working days; 25-40mm in 40 working days.

“We aim to carry out inspections every 12 months on all roads in Coventry and place orders for any necessary repairs.

“Classified roads (main roads) are inspected on a more regular basis.”

In reaction to the survey, Conservative group leader councillor Gary Ridley said: “This damning report will come as no surprise to many people in Coventry.

“We have a council which has been described as delusional by independent investigators giving away millions to a private company to build an unviable hotel while they fail to deliver basic services like pothole repair.

“I would call on the cabinet member for city services to make an urgent statement to clarify how they are planning to address this situation.”

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