Nottinghamshire County Councillor John Cottee joins Matt & Vicky on Radio Newark's Breakfast Show to discuss their Pothole Watch campaign.
A campaign highlighting Newark’s growing pothole problem has been gaining momentum over the last two weeks, with Radio Newark Breakfast Show presenters Matt Colbourne and Vicky Cozens patrolling the town centre in search of some of its worst examples.
“It all began with a bit of a rant on one of the shows at the beginning of February, when we were discussing some of the potholes we were coming across on our way to the studio in the early hours of the morning,” said Matt. “As we usually do, we invited listeners to join the debate on social media and it soon became obvious that we weren’t the only ones fed up with the state of some of our roads.
“Potholes are a problem for drivers at the best of times but at this time of year, when you’re heading to work in the dark, often in wet or icy conditions, they’re even more of a hazard. So, determined to bring the situation to the attention of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Highways Division, which is responsible for the upkeep of our roads, we came up with the idea of launching the campaign and christened it Pothole Watch.”
Since the launch, Matt has been out and about in the distinctive black and orange Radio Newark car, armed with his trusty tape measure, gathering evidence about the size and location of potholes both big and small and reporting his findings live to Vicky back in the studio.
News of the campaign soon came to the attention of the Highways Division and County Councillor John Cottee, chairman of the Communities and Place Committee, gave a written statement addressing the concerns and agreeing to a live interview on the Breakfast Show to discuss the situation in more detail.
“We have seen your reports from listeners and Facebook followers about potholes in Newark and your Pothole Watch campaign,” Councillor Cottee said in his written response. “We sympathise and we agree that more needs to be done than has been in the past.
“This council administration, in direct response to these types of concerns, has identified an extra £20m to be added to Nottinghamshire County Council’s highways capital programme from 2018/19 and spent over the next four years, bringing the Council's capital roads investment up to £142m - its highest level in more than a decade.
“With 2,600 miles of roads in our network, we know this money won’t solve every problem and fill every pothole. The £20m will focus on roads which are likely to deteriorate in the next few years – so it will be on a ‘right repair at the right time’ basis.”
Councillor Cottee’s message went on to explain that the county’s roads are checked regularly for defects such as potholes by Via East Midlands, which manages highways services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, but for some roads this is only practical every year.
“We really appreciate the way that hundreds of local residents are playing their part by getting in touch with us directly to give us location details and an image if possible, where they have spotted a pothole,” he added. “In fact, we’ve had more than 300 pothole reports since we announced the new money for highways repairs earlier this week.”
Reporting a pothole takes only a few minutes online or by phone, after which a member of the team will go out to check it out as part of its routine inspection cycle. The criteria for a pothole to be considered a safety is a depth of 40mm in the road surface or 20mm in a footway – any pothole meeting these safety requirements will be prioritised for repair depending on its size, depth and road location with priority given to sites in need of emergency repairs.
“Some potholes may be able to be repaired and made safe instantly by our inspectors,” said Councillor Cottee. “Anyone wanting to report a pothole or any type of road or pavement damage on a Nottinghamshire road can do so online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 500 8080.”
Reports can be made anonymously but anyone wanting updates with news of whether the damage meets the criteria for repair and when the problem has been fixed will need to provide an email address.
More information about potholes, including when and how they are fixed, can also be found online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/transport/roads/potholes
Councillor Cottee will be answering questions from Matt and Vicky on the Breakfast Show from 8am on Monday 12 February. Listeners can hear the discussion on 107.8FM, on DAB digital radio across Newark and Lincolnshire or online at www.radionewark.co.uk - comments can also be added to the station’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/radionewark) or Twitter feed (@radionewarkuk).