A hole lot of trouble up ahead

Leven Avenue in Fleetwood is pitted with potholes.
Leven Avenue in Fleetwood is pitted with potholes.

Fears have been raised that an escalating issue with potholes in Fleetwood and Wyre could lead to someone being seriously injured or even killed.

Residents and councillors across the town say the problem is at a critical level and labelled it a “disgrace”.

Coun Rachel George

Coun Rachel George

Complaints about the road surfaces come at a time when Conservative and Labour members at Lancashire County, the road authority, have clashed over the issue.

The Tory leaderships issued a statement in which it was pledging an extra £5m on pothole repairs - but the council’s Labour opposition claims there has been no real provision for potholes and that it will come out of general highway funds.

In Fleetwood, some of the harshest criticism on the council’s efforts to deal with potholes have come from the town’s Conservative county member, Coun Stephen Clarke.

Coun Clarke, who represents Fleetwood West and Cleveleys West at County Hall and said: “My first loyalty will always be to my constituants and some holes are so bad I fear someone could be killed.

Coun Stephen Clarke, of Fleetwood, has raised concerns over potholes and says there could be a fatal accident.

Coun Stephen Clarke, of Fleetwood, has raised concerns over potholes and says there could be a fatal accident.

“It is getting ridiculous and downright dangerous, with Princes Way particularly bad.

“Repairs are taking far too long – in one case I complained about the problem in November and it has only just being dealt with.

“Even as a Conservative member, I have to say the situation in unacceptable.”

Coun Rachel George, who represents Rossall on the Town Council, said one hole on Leven Avenue (pictured) measures 40cm across by 6cm deep and said “It is an absolute disgrace.

“If we cannot have decent roads, one of the most basic requirements, where is our council tax money going?

“One of the worst roads in my constiuency, Leven Avenue, is so bad that cars shake. I have complained five times and I am getting nowhere.”

County councillors from the ruling Conservative group claim that the new policy will focus on the potholes most likely to cause a safety risk or damage to cars.

But opposition councillors have criticised the new system, and have asked the cabinet’s decision be ‘called in’ for scrutiny.

The new measure was approved by cabinet, but after the decision was ‘called in’, it will go before a special meeting of the Internal Scrutiny Committee on a date yet to be announced.

County Coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways, said of the proposed new policy: “It will means we are able to better monitor our performance, hold ourselves to account, and ensure we’re directing resources where they’re most needed.

“I’m aware the wet and freezing weather we’ve been experiencing lately means we have a lot of potholes to repair at the moment.

“We’re repairing them as soon as we can, and people will start to notice the difference as the weather improves and fewer potholes are appearing.

“This revised policy will help to ensure that we’re focused on repairing the worst damage quickly to ensure our roads are safe.”

But Labour deputy leader John Fillis, a former cabinet member for highways, said at the cabinet meeting: “Lancashire County Council has increased the time it will take to fix a pothole, while attempting to mislead the public with statistics that do not identify how long it really takes to fix a pothole from a member of the public reporting, to the work being done.”

And Coun Azhar Ali has now written to the council leader, Geoff Driver, demanding that he shows were the money is within the Conservative budget.