More than 8,500 complaints about potholes on Liverpool City Region roads

Liverpool recorded the highest overspend in the region and tops the list for number of complaints received about the state of roads.

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New research reveals that Liverpool residents are unhappy with the state of local roads, with more than 8,500 complaints being made about potholes this year (2022/2023).

The study by the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) delves into the conditions of the local road network across the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and the North West.

Using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all North West local authorities, the research explores whether a key component of the region’s transport infrastructure – our roads – are being maintained.

The research looks at how much councils budgeted for road repairs, versus how much they actually spent, and how many complaints they received from members of the public about potholes. The study also covers how many legal claims were received for damage caused to vehicles by potholes as an indicator.

In the Liverpool City Region, a total of £19,819,043 was spent on road upkeep, with 8,521 complaints and 391 legal claims made.

  • Liverpool City Council recorded the highest overspend of £620,691, spending £1,911,979 on road upkeep, with a budget of £1,291,288. Liverpool also topped the list for number of complaints received about roads in the region, with 3,984 complaints and 218 legal claims made.
  • St Helens Council spent £800,658 on road repairs, £350,658 more than its budget of £450,000. 1,482 complaints were received and 53 claims made.
  • Sefton Council are on budget, spending exactly £6,608,750. 825 complaints were received and 80 claims made.
  • Three councils have not used their full allocated road repair budget for 2022/23 - the largest underspend was recorded by Wirral (-£955,876), followed by Halton (-£198,344) and Knowsley (-£89,008). Knowsley received 734 complaints and 18 claims; Wirral received 788 complaints and 14 claims and Halton received 708 complaints and 8 claims.

The most complained about roads in the Liverpool City Region:

  • Liverpool Road (St Helens)
  • Waterpark Drive (Knowsley)
  • New Chester Road (Wirral)
  • Dundalk Road (Halton)

Liverpool City Council and Sefton Council did not disclose this information.

FSB Area Leader for Merseyside and Cheshire, Michael Sandys, said local road networks underpin the viability of the regional economy.

He explained: “Most small businesses need free flowing, well-maintained road networks to operate smoothly. It’s as simple as that.

“This year’s figures are a mixed bag – some councils are frustratingly not spending their road maintenance budgets in full despite the poor state of our road network and the associated costs, while others are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds more than budgeted on maintenance.”

Mr Sandys added: “While a well-maintained road network may be seen by some as a ‘nice to have’, they’re actually rather more important than that.

“Everybody relies on the road network in one way or another, whether that’s getting to work by bus, car or bike, or for businesses to get their goods in and out on time. Our roads, paid for by our taxes, are our most important transport asset, and authorities must continue to invest in them.”

The full study, including other North West statistics, can be found here.