Pictures: Northamptonshire's Mr Pothole calls on new councils to invest in county's roads

"Lack of investment in the road network is letting road users and motorists down, and wasting tax payers' money. There needs to be a fundamental change from the top down."

Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:40 pm

The former Mayor of Brackley, who now goes by the name of Mr Pothole, is calling for the new unitary authorities of Northamptonshire to set aside funds to fix the county's potholes.

From April 1, council services in Northamptonshire will be provided by two unitary authorities instead of the current two-tier structure.

Several other new councils will be formed to represent different towns and communities as well.

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Mr Pothole, Mark Morrell, has also called for the new authorities to be "transparent" about the backlog of highway works over the last two decades that have not yet been fixed by Northamptonshire County Council.

The 60-year-old, who has appeared on a documentary about roadworks which was viewed by 14 million Japanese people, said: "One of the things, I think, the new authority should be doing is looking at the road maintenance. We need investment in our roads like they do in Japan.

"Road issues, it doesn't matter what council they are, Conservative or Labour, they have all got the same issues. We have got everyone blaming each other. The bottom line is neither has invested in resurfacing works and the roads are falling apart.

"It's an ideal time to invest. If we invest, we create jobs, apprenticeships, reduce the costs of badly maintained roads, more people will be out cycling. I think it's an ideal time. If you look at America after the Depression, they invested."

Mark, who says he is known as Mr Oco Poco in Japan, said the previous councils had a "lack of foresight".

He said: "It's a complete lack of foresight. Lack of investment in the road network is letting road users and motorists down and wasting tax payers' money. There needs to be a fundamental change from the top down.

"I just want the new local authority to be transparent about what it has inherited from the county council. We want to know what backlog there is, what needs sorting and how much it will cost to fix.

"The cost of bad road networks is £5 billion to the UK economy each year."

Mark, who has been campaigning for better road maintenance for eight years, said roads need to be resurfaced every 20 years, but some of the town's roads are now 60 and 70 years old and are not being managed well enough.

The bad roads result in motorists incurring costs from driving over potholes and damaging their vehicles, to which Mark said only 1% of people actually manage to get any form of compensation back from the council.

Mark also said the average cost of filling a pothole in is £50, and added that prevention is better than a cure.

Mr Pothole has also previously campaigned around Westminister in a bright orange tank on National Pot Hole day (January 15), which he created.

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