£14 million repairs bill sparks row over state of Wolverhampton's roads

Almost £14 million has been spent resurfacing roads in Wolverhampton alone in the last five years, new figures have revealed.

Wolverhampton council spent £13.9 million on planned works between April 2012 and March this year with a further £6.1 million spent repairing more than 7,033 potholes.

Over the same period £413,000 was spent on 170 compensation payments relating to damage caused by poor road surfaces, at an average of £2,429 each.

Sections of the A449 Stafford Road and the A4123 Birmingham New Road have been resurfaced in recent months.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, come as Liberal Democrat campaigner Ian Jenkins branded the city's roads the worst in Britain.

Mr Jenkins, who obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request, claimed roads in the city were deteriorating because of a lack of ongoing maintenance.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, rubbished the claims.

He said: “These unfounded claims are nonsense and are not backed up with any supporting evidence. People who drive around the country know that our roads are in an excellent state of repair compared to some areas.

“Unfortunately road surfaces do deteriorate over time and potholes can occur on any road across the country. We manage highways maintenance through a planned resurfacing programme as well as regular inspections and reactive repairs when issues are reported to us – usually within 24 hours for the most serious potholes.

"Compensation is only payable if the council was negligent or failed in its statutory duty to maintain the highway. City of Wolverhampton Council follows a nationally recognised code of practice for highways maintenance.”

People can report potholes to the council via its website. After the road defects are recorded, the authority acts on the report.

In the 2016/17 financial year the council repaired more potholes (1,982) than in any of the previous seven years.

Councillor Wendy Thompson, Conservative group leader, said: "Looking after the roads is very important for any council, but some of the roads in the city are still in a very poor state.

"The council is getting a lot of money in from drivers for parking etc. and therefore the roads should be in really top condition.

"It is important to get it right because of the wear and tear on cars otherwise. It is also a safety issue."

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