THE number of complaints about potholes and poor road conditions in east Cheshire halved in the year to April, while west Cheshire's figures doubled.

More than 12,800 complaints about roads managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council were received in 2017/18, compared to 5,307 in 2016/17 and 3,200 in 2015/16.

The number of claims made – and paid out – for damage caused by potholes also more than doubled, from 59 payouts in 2016/17 to 143 in 2016/17.

The most problematic road was Main Road in Moulton.

Poor weather this winter saw a spike in defects, and CWAC was awarded £445,141 by the the Department for Transport’s Pothole Action Fund in February.

All the same, CWAC’s total spend on road repairs was dwarfed by neighbouring Cheshire East Council over the past two years.

CWAC spent a total of £12,974,650 over the two most recent financial years compared to CEC’s £18,600,000.

This is reflected in CEC’s dwindling complaints, down from 14,125 in 2016/17 to 7,107 in 2017/18.

Despite this, CEC dealt with more damage claims from motorists last year, but only paid out on 31 occasions – a total of £2,733.

The 2018/19 CEC budget pledged £7 million to highways works.

A CEC spokesman said: “We put the safety of road users as our highest priority.

“Our highways teams repair an average of 150 road defects each day, including potholes, and re-surfacing up to 300 square metres of highway to make the borough’s roads safe for residents.

“Defects are categorised according to a national standard of acceptable road surface quality.”

The figures come from a freedom of information request by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

FSB development manager Robert Downes says road networks were vital trade routes key to local economies, but which in some areas now required urgent investment.

He said: “Small businesses need free flowing, well-maintained road networks to compete and grow, particularly in rural areas where there is more of a reliance on motor vehicles.

“Poorly maintained infrastructure hampers growth and presents a low rent image which can be a turnoff for investors. So while it’s easy to dismiss potholes as an irrelevance, or a ‘nice to have’, they are actually rather important.

“Our research shows the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’, remains true, and I think especially in west Cheshire road users there must be feeling hard done by.

“While it’s a rosier picture in east Cheshire, I suspect businesses and residents in Poynton [home to the borough’s most complained about road for the past two years] will be less than impressed at the state of some of their roads.”