A community leader has voiced 'grave concerns' over the number of potholes reported in Suffolk's roads after new data revealed the number more than doubled in one year.

Data, obtained via a freedom of information request, found that between January and November 2023, 12,545 potholes were reported to Suffolk County Council, some 7,101 than the 5.444 recorded in the whole of 2022. 

This sharp rise was not recorded in neighbouring Norfolk, where instead 2023 to November saw just 7,478 reports, 1,703 less than 2022's 9,181. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Pothole in Field Road, MildenhallPothole in Field Road, Mildenhall (Image: Andy Neal)

Andy Neal, who represents Mildenhall Queensway on West Suffolk Council and who has been vocal about the state of the county's roads, said: "I have grave concerns regarding the number and size of the potholes we are experiencing in Mildenhall.

"I am recording on the county portal the potholes and flooding issues in Mildenhall because unless they are reported then there is no chance of getting the repairs done.

"I fully understand the county council has limited resources to work with and needs to provide for the whole county. I just want Mildenhall to get its share of service as the council tax payer." 

He questioned the quality of the repairs that take place, as well as whether Suffolk County Council staffing levels are enough to provide a good service. 

"The clearance of the drains and gullies is another major issue and also offers a service of reduced visits," he said. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Andy NealCllr Andy Neal (Image: West Suffolk Council)

"Flooded roads where you can no longer have visible potholes is a recipe for disaster and many accidents have been recorded because of this situation.

"The neglected service within our towns by Suffolk County Council is unacceptable, especially highlighted when compared to Norfolk who are reducing the number of reported potholes in a year.

"Suffolk has more than doubled its recorded potholes and the questions have to be asked why. Workmanship, materials used, staffing levels, salt usage?"

Hannah Cole, of Great Cornard, was in the passenger seat while her partner was driving his Ford S Max car in New Street, Sudbury, on the evening of January 12 when they hit a pothole in the road. 

Ms Cole said the pothole, which was very deep and could not been seen well in the road, caused one of their tyres to burst leaving the car undriveable and them needing to fork out for a new one. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The pothole in New Street, SudburyThe pothole in New Street, Sudbury (Image: Hannah Cole)

She said: "I think the council needs to get out and fix the roads as there are so many potholes around Sudbury.

"There is always a pothole somewhere that needs doing. Some you can avoid and some you can't due to it being a little road with cars parked down either side. 

"There may be someone who only has one car and low income or is really struggling due to ill health who would be worse off if it happened to them," she added. 

Ms Cole said her partner has now reported the pothole to Suffolk County Council. 

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: "The condition of roads and the number of potholes identified and repaired can vary from year to year and are impacted by a range of factors such as traffic volume, particularly larger, heavier vehicles, and ground conditions such as shrinkage or expansion due to weather extremes of weather.

"Other factors such as classification of potholes and investment strategies differ between local authorities based on local priorities as well as how these are ordered – some authorities will count one pothole per order or multiple per order.

"Suffolk County Council has invested enhanced levels of funding into the Suffolk road network. Between 2017 and 2021, Suffolk Highways resurfaced over 1,000 miles or the county’s roads.

"Since then, Suffolk Highways has continued to invest in road surfacing and will be investing a further £10 million, above the funding received from the Department for Transport, into local residential roads during 2024." 

The data was obtained through a freedom of information request made by Round Our Way, which aims to highlight the impact of climate change.