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Tatton MP urges council to set out how it records pothole data

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Tatton MP Esther McVey has urged council chiefs to set out how they record data relating to pothole repairs.

It comes after two attempts to gain information for frustrated residents have failed to be actioned by Cheshire East Council.

Ms McVey wants to know which roads in the area have been repaired, which roads are awaiting repair and the criteria behind which roads are prioritised.

She has submitted two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to Cheshire East Council relating to the issue but has been told there is no breakdown on repairs by postcode that her request was “too costly” to provide.

 

 

While the council admitted it does have some information regarding pothole repairs, under FOI rules they can refuse to supply it if it would cost too much or take too much staff time to deal with the request.

The MP’s first request was for a breakdown of spending in each of the five parliamentary constituencies covered by Cheshire East Council from the various pothole funding streams in 2020/21 and 2021/2022. 

Cheshire East said they do have the information but did not provide it as it was deemed ‘manifestly unreasonable’.

Their response said: “Cheshire East Council does not record the data by parliamentary constituency.

“In order to break down these figures into money spent out officers would be required to review all schemes in conjunction with the council’s finance team in order to provide exact figures and split these by constituency.”

 

 

A second attempt asked for the information broken down by town or postcode.

The response said: “I am unable to provide you with a breakdown via town or postcode as this information is not recorded.”

Ms McVey said the responses were not satisfactory and questioned how the information was recorded.

 

 

She said: “Whilst accepting that they might not keep the data by parliamentary constituency, I am struggling to believe they can’t provide it via postcode or town or village.

“In some cases, providing a road number or name is not going to be particularly helpful as some roads are long and go through multiple villages.

“My hope was to be able to understand how the funds spent on road repair was used across Cheshire East.”

She continued: “The inability to provide the information makes me question how the council are able to adequately monitor the issue.”

 



 

The failed FOI requests come as council leader Sam Corcoran tweeted: “the more people report potholes online the more likely they are to be fixed.”

Ms McVey said the tweet was “concerning” and raises more questions on the council’s management of potholes.

She said she was previously told that there was a strict criterion for repairs and resurfacing, which was that the affected area is 50mm deep. 

She added: “I was under the impression there was a formula for whether a pothole got repaired – not some sort of voting system.”

So Cheshire has also submitted FOI requests to Cheshire East Council relating to its management of potholes, and will update readers accordingly.

 

 

 

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