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A whole lot of holes to fill
THE pothole epidemic in Colchester is twice as bad as it was last year, new figures show.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed 2,137 defective roads were reported in the first six months of this year.
A total of 2,526 were reported in the whole of 2011.
In some parts of the borough more potholes have been reported already in 2012 than in the whole of 2011.
Extreme weather has been blamed for the condition of the county’s roads, with heavy snowfall in winter, followed by a warm spell and heavy flooding.
Potholes have become so bad in Wivenhoe some have been temporarily filled by motorists with building rubble.
Robert Needham, a town and county councillor, said residents plan to march through the town if they are not fixed.
Mr Needham said: “Hopefully we won’t have to protest because the council will see what it is up against and do something about it.
“There is nobody to keep tabs on the county council so it is down to us to keep them on their toes.
“I feel we are becoming poor relations with regards to potholes.
“People have filled some with rubble, which shows how deep they are. It is time for Wivenhoe to react.”
A protest march on Sunday was called off after campaigners were given assurances from Essex County Council.
A spokesman for the council apologised for inconvenience caused by the road defects and said they have been inspected and repairs will be made in July and August.
He advised residents to report defects via the Essex County Council website instead of trying to repair them. Essex County Council has approved a plan to spend an extra £11million to repair roads.
Anne Brown, county councillor for the Constable ward, said she is not surprised to learn rural areas have been worst affected.
She said: “Rural roads are not the most heavily-used in the county, but they are critical to the residents who do use them.”
Mrs Brown called on the 17 parish councils in her ward to complete an audit of the roads, detailing defects that they find, and submit it to Stephen Castle, county councillor responsible for highways.
“Stanway is not just an area used by people who live in Stanway, it is a highly used area by people coming in to do their shopping in Tollgate and beyond.”
Theresa Higgins, county councillor for Parsons Heath and Eastgates, said the problem is Essex County Council is not consistent in its responses.
She said: “There have been times when I report a pothole and I do not hear anything and it just gets worse, but equally there are times when I report potholes and they are fixed very quickly.
“The extra money will be welcomed, but not enough to do all the backlog of work.”