Fresh look at pothole repairs in East Sussex to be debated

Calls have been made to pilot a new approach to repairing potholes in East Sussex
Calls have been made to pilot a new approach to repairing potholes in East Sussex

A review calling for a fresh look at pothole repairs in East Sussex is to be considered by council leaders.

Next week East Sussex County Council’s cabinet is to discuss a report from a scrutiny review board tasked with looking at how the authority runs its programme of road repairs.

In its report, the review board recommends the council set up a pilot scheme where all potholes in an area are repaired at the same time – rather than on a case-by-case basis.

The report said: “Undertaking reactive pothole repairs enables the council to meet its statutory duty to maintain the highway in a safe condition.

“However, it is evident that members of the public do not understand why the Council does not repair all adjacent potholes at the same time.

“A wider ‘360 degree’ repair approach, coupled with better communicating the council’s approach to repairs to the public, may provide an answer to councillors and local people’s concerns about the current approach to repairing potholes.”

Currently, the council takes a ‘reactive’ approach to its road repairs, where a pothole must be a certain depth before any work takes place.

According to the review board, this can lead to situations where one or two of the worst potholes in an area are repaired, while other potholes are left to get worse nearby.

But the report also warns there may be drawbacks to an alternative approach, saying officers had raised concerns as the council is required to deal with serious potholes within a short timeframe.

The legal time limit for repairs coupled with tight budgets could prevent it from being pursued across the whole county, the report said.

Despite these concerns, the review board recommended piloting the scheme, for all but the most urgent repairs, to test whether it would be feasible on a larger scale.

The report also makes a number of recommendations for how the council maintains its pavements.  

These include: looking at how different types of pavement are checked for defects; preventing parking on pavements and verges; and finding additional funding for pavement repairs.

It also recommends the council increases the number of inspections it carries out, to ensure road repairs are being carried out correctly.

All the recommendations contained in the report are to be considered by cabinet members on April 23.

Cabinet members will be expected to offer comments on the proposals, but the report will go to full council for a final say.