Banbury survey leads to estimate of 132,000 defects countywide, says Mr Pothole

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A roads survey carried out by the Banbury Guardian and Mr Pothole – aka Mark Morrell – has lead to an estimate of 132,000 defects across Oxfordshire.

Mr Morrell – a Brackley resident who has become famous nationwide as the premier roads campaigner Mr Pothole – calculated the 132,000 statistic after number-crunching the defects recorded on our 55-mile journey by the new app, Stan (Safer Travel Around Neighbourhoods).

The trip, around Banbury streets with a drive out into the countryside around North Newington, Epwell, Shenington and Hanwell, gave a good mix of urban and rural roads and resulted in nearly 1,500 major defects.

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"Our journey showed up 44 defects per mile. Oxfordshire has just said it is responsible for 3,000 miles of roads, and by my calculations that means the county has something like 132,000 defects,” said Mr Morrell.

Mr Pothole has Stan the App on his phone to measure potholes and other road defects as he drives alongMr Pothole has Stan the App on his phone to measure potholes and other road defects as he drives along
Mr Pothole has Stan the App on his phone to measure potholes and other road defects as he drives along

"That is just on its carriageways – it doesn’t take any account of work they need to do on footpaths.

"More has to be done to bring the roads back into decent repair. They're not spending anywhere near enough to actually stop the decline of our road network.”

Mr Morrell said last year’s roads budget was nearly £2bn a year – half the amount spent in 2006.

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"They should have been spending £6 – 7bn to have kept up. It's been cut successively and it's now under 50 per cent of what it was in 2006 – and that's without the inflation. So unless they actually put in place an additional £3 billion a year, year on year, and index link it, to do resurfacing, we can expect further declines on our network.

Mark Morrell - aka Mr Pothole - measures the depth of a pothole in Middleton Road, BanburyMark Morrell - aka Mr Pothole - measures the depth of a pothole in Middleton Road, Banbury
Mark Morrell - aka Mr Pothole - measures the depth of a pothole in Middleton Road, Banbury

"That 132,000 defects on Oxfordshire roads will be 500,000 within the next 10 years. And if we don't invest, in 15 years time 53 per cent of the total UK's road network will be structurally unsound.”

Mr Pothole said unless something extraordinary happens by Friday, when all the party manifestos are due to be published, things will only get worse.

“So far none has mentioned our roads in their manifestos,” he said.

  • Stan is an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to film, isolate and plot different defects, from deep potholes to ‘alligator’ cracking and surface failure.