A CAMPAIGNER has threatened to take the county council to court in a last-ditch attempt to fix the 'appalling' state of some Oxfordshire roads.

Mark Morrell, known as Mr Pothole, has urged the county’s residents to let the Oxford Mail know which road they think is the worst to force the council to act.

Mr Morrell said he will pursue legal action against the authority through the courts to restore the road if action on the chosen worst road is not done in six months.

But what is the worst stretch in Oxfordshire? Kennington Road has already been nominated, but can you do better? Let us know! Email here or click the link below. 

Banbury Cake:

The law gives any member of the public the right to demand a highway authority – in Oxfordshire’s case the county council – fixes a road within six months if it is ‘out of repair’.

Mr Morrell, who spoke to the Oxford Mail ahead of National Pothole Day today, said: “We get lip service from councils and we get lip service from the Government. With the recent weather, it’s just going to make it worse.”

He added: “I suggest going to the community and nominate the worst road and that we see where roads have failed. The test in law is: would people see this as in reasonable condition?”

The possible use of Section 56 of the Highways Act 1980 is the latest twist in a saga over the state of the county’s roads as the council looks to patch them up with dwindling funds.

The council received £1m from the Government to improve the state of roads last month but that is a mere fraction of what would be required to rid Oxfordshire of potholes.

And Mr Morrell, who has already said he will use this law against Northamptonshire County Council, said the money available in comparison to the sum needed is ‘peeing in the sea’.

Studies have shown Oxfordshire needs at least £165m to bring its network up to scratch but its annual highways budget is about a tenth of that.

Between January and February 20 this year more than 3,510 potholes were repaired, the council said. Another 2,365 have been identified and are awaiting repair.

According to the FixMyStreet website, which the council uses to receive residents’ report on road defects, some potholes were reported months ago but still need to be investigated.

One on Eynsham Road in Dean Court was reported on FixMyStreet on October 2, 2017. On the same day the council said it was investigating.

On October 24, the council said the hole had been filled but two days later the person who had reported said it remained the same. According to the log, it is still awaiting repair.

Paul Smith, county council spokesman, said: “The winter months this year have been colder with occasional bouts of snowfall. Oxfordshire’s roads have undoubtedly suffered due to this – however this is a national trend and is not something unique to Oxfordshire.

“We are continuing to work hard to undertake repairs. We’d always welcome further extra funding from central Government to tackle this issue and fully appreciate it is at the top of the agenda for many residents.”

According to a study by the RAC, 11 per cent more breakdowns were attributed to potholes across the UK between October and December 2017 than in the same time in 2016.

RAC spokesman’s Simon Williams said: “We fear that this spring we may see the emergence of almost as many potholes as daffodils. And, although this is the season that is supposed to signal the start of better, warmer weather, this year we think it’s likely to be the start of even worse road surfaces for motorists to drive on.”

Worst road in Oxfordshire for potholes

Mr Pothole wants your suggestions as he threatens legal action against council

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