Sunderland's pothole spending soars to £3.5million - with complaints also on the rise
Sunderland’s pothole bill hit £3.5million in the last financial year – up 30% from the year before.
Sunderland City Council saw the fourth biggest rise in pothole spending of the 12 North East local authorities. The average increase was 5%.
Sunderland council chiefs spent a total of £3,489,000 on pothole repairs in 2018-19, up a total of £813,000 on 2017-18.
The complaints about potholes or damaged carriageway in Sunderland also rose, up 17% from 706 to 826.
The figures were provided by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who issued Freedom of Information requests to all local authorities.
Richard Askew, FSB North East policy representative, said: “Potholes are a major concern for small businesses across the North East. Our members rely heavily on the local road network, with their staff, customers and trade deliveries, dependent on fast and efficient road networks.
“Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper their ability to do business, but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms often working without large capital reserves.
“These figures show that yet again the North East is suffering from a historic lack of funding in our infrastructure and has the worst problem anywhere in the UK.
“If the region wants to achieve our economic ambitions, it’s clear that the government and local authorities need to sit up and take notice.”
Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for environment and transport, Councillor Amy Wilson, said: “The council welcomes the Federation’s call for more investment in highways maintenance.
“Managing, overseeing and improving our highways network, despite all the recent pressures on local government budgets, remains one of this council’s key priorities.
“In November 2018, the council received an extra allocation of £1.46million as part of the Government’s autumn budget.
“This allocation supplemented the council’s existing highway maintenance budget and helped fund the resurfacing and strengthening of 15 miles of city roads in the last year.
“Plus, a key element of this year’s budget, was the continued investment in our highway network with more than £5million approved to deliver more than 250 highway maintenance projects.”