Residents join forces to tackle potholes 28.01.11
An army of Big Society volunteers is being recruited to help in the fight against potholes.
According to the latest figures, an average of around 10 potholes dot every mile of road in England and Wales, and the total number will pass two million for the first time this year.
Sutton Council is now enlisting the help of its residents following the worst December in 100 years.
A network of "road stewards" from Belmont & South Cheam Residents' Association has surveyed the roads throughout its area to identify potholes and reported them to the council for repairs.
Now it is calling on residents in other parts of the borough to help out.
Cllr Simon Wales, Executive Member for Communities, Transport and Voluntary Sector, said: "We need residents to be our eyes and ears. Improving our road network is a priority issue but with more than 200 miles of road in the borough we need people to tell us where the problems lie
"We inspect all our residential roads on an annual basis but it means if we look at a road in October we won't be back there for 12 months – and an awful lot of damage can happen in a year.
"If people see a pothole, we want them to tell us. Don't assume that somebody else has already informed the council."
Praising the example of the Belmont & South Cheam Residents' Association, he added: "The Big Society is all about local people making a difference to their communities – and this is a situation where people really can make a difference."
In the last 12 months, more than 1,200 potholes have been reported and repaired in the borough, including 300 notified by residents.
Peter Mattey, chairman of Belmont & South Cheam Residents' Association, said: "The harsh weather in December has played havoc with the roads and created many potholes.
"Rather than sit back and complain, we decided to do something positive and help the council identify where the problem potholes are in our Association's area.
"To date we have identified 89 potholes requiring attention. We hope that by working in partnership with thecCouncil it will enable the worst offending potholes to be fixed quickly and make the roads safer and more comfortable for cars and cyclists."
Potholes form when water on roads seeps into the surface and opens up cracks when it freezes and expands.
The process is repeated over and over again as ice and snow thaws and re-freezes during winter weather, cracking roads apart and leaving holes in their wake.
Once identified, the council's highways team will repair an emergency situation within 24 hours. Less urgent potholes are usually programmed for repair within five working days.
* Residents can report a pothole online or phone 020 8770 5070
Last updated: Monday, 14 February 2011