Merton Pays Out For One Of London's Biggest Pothole Problem Areas

Borough has more complaints about roads than most other parts of London

Road users complained about more than 1,300 potholes in Merton last year, with Worple Road in Wimbledon town centre receiving the most complaints.

A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has also revealed Merton paid out more money in compensation to vehicle drivers for potholes than almost all of London's 33 boroughs.

The FSB's figures, which it obtained via a Freedom of Information request, showed that Merton spent £378,835 on road repairs in 2017-18.

The figures also show that the neighbouring borough of Wandsworth spent £3.56m in the same year, and had 748 complaints about potholes compared with Merton's 1,342. Only seven councils in the capital had more complaints than Merton.

The problems meant that Merton paid out £18,315 in compensation for vehicle damage caused by potholes in 2017-18 - across London only Barnet and Islington councils paid out more.

The FSB survey showed that only 16% of the 1,673 claims received by all 33 London Borough Councils led to any form of compensation.

Merton had 65 claims for vehicle damage caused by potholes, and paid out on 11 of those claims (17% of the total claims). Wandsworth had 24 claims and paid out on 13 of them (54%).

A pothole on the busy Kingston Road in Wimbledon is pictured below.

Kingston Road pothole in Wimbledon

Sue Terpilowski, FSB London Policy Chair, said: “Potholes are not only a danger to road users, they cause costly repairs, traffic congestion and bottlenecks, leading to consequent disruption to trading for our smaller businesses and the self-employed.

“London is already an expensive area to do business with soaring costs. Most small businesses rely on their local roads and transport systems. There should be simple way to report road problems to local councils, with identified problems quickly rectified. Highways maintenance needs to be a priority for our councils, to keep the road network moving for our small businesses in the city.”

FSB Greater London is calling on all London Boroughs realise that well maintained roads are important to their respective communities, and in particular to realise the consequences on the productivity and project margins of local businesses.

Also, for all 33 Councils to provide an online method of reporting, tracking, uploading a photo of a problem on a road or pavement, and to provide a simple system for submitting claims for damage to vehicles, whether they be cars, cycles, motorbikes/mopeds, lorries or vans.

January 30, 2019