MOTORISTS in eastern Cheshire lodged more than twice as many requests for road surface repairs in one year than their counterparts in the west.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act found that Cheshire East Council racked up 6,063 complaints about poor road surfaces and potholes in 2014/15, compared to 2,380 requests made to Cheshire West and Chester Council in the same period.

The Federation of Small Businesses, who submitted the FOI request to both councils, also found that 159 successful claims were made against CEC for vehicle damage as a result of potholes in 2014/15.

However, the 2014/15 figure marks a significant drop on the 18,207 requests for repairs made to CEC in 2013/14, while CWAC faced more successful insurance claims in 2014/15 with 193.

Simon Edmondson, FSB regional chair for Cheshire, said: “Our members rely heavily on the local road networks to do business, and for rural firms the roads are even more important.

“While this new study shows CEC has made progress with maintaining the region’s road network to a better standard, there’s still room for improvement when you look at how CWAC did.

“Both councils are similar in size and geography but motorists in the West are either much less inclined to complain or the roads are maintained to a better standard.

“When our members are paying huge sums for business rates they expect certain standards, and among them local roads to be of sound repair. The research we’ve done suggests many might feel they still aren’t getting value for money.”

The FSB, which first conducted the research last summer, also found that CEC spent less on road repairs in 2014/15 than the year previous, down from £15.6m to £15.3.

Cllr David Brown, CEC cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, is pleased that the borough’s roads are among the most improved in the north west.

“The operation of CEC’s road network is vital to the success of our local communities and economy,” he said.

“Over the last three years, the percentage of CEC’s road network in need of repair has reduced from six per cent to three per cent for ‘A’ classified roads, and from 11 per cent to five per cent for ‘B’ and ‘C’ classified roads.

“In 2013, CEC ran a campaign to actively encourage members of the public to report road defects. Reports of defects from members of the public have since reduced year on year.

“Following this campaign, there was a significant spike in the reporting of potholes in 2013/14 which was naturally anticipated.

“Additional funding of £40 million has been invested in CEC’s extensive 2,700km road network since the 2012/13 financial year.”