THERE was a massive increase in the number of complaints Trafford's highway bosses received about potholes in the borough's roads last year.

More than 3,200 people complained about the potholes on Trafford's highways in 2015/16, more than 1,000 more than in the previous 12 months.

The figures are revealed in a study in to the condition of Greater Manchester’s road network that has been released this week by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)..

The annual research piece – now in its third successive year – uses Freedom of Information (FOI) requests at all 10 councils in GM to ascertain the number of complaints concerning potholes, the number of legal claims for damage to motor vehicles caused by them, as well as the amount of council investment in repairing local roads in the same year.

It shows that only two councils - Manchester (7193 complaints) and Bury (3575) - dealt with more moans about potholes than Trafford.

The two roads in the borough that there were the highest number of complaints about were Trafford Park Road and Moss Lane, Timperley.

The level of investment in road repairs in Trafford fell to £903,000, compared with £1.119m in the previous year. That was the second lowest investment of all the councils.

There was a 40 per cent rise in the number of legal claims for damage to motor vehicles caused by potholes that Trafford had to deal with. Last year there were 112 claims, compared to 79 in the previous period.

FSB Manchester’s regional chairman, Simon Edmondson, said: “Too often when people talk about improving transport links and having better connectivity, they mean public transport. We need to start treating our roads with a bit more respect because, like it or not, they are still the preferred route of choice for the majority of businesses and indeed the general public.

“Our research suggests in Trafford there’s a correlation between a fall in funding for road repairs, and an increase in the overall number of complaints in relation to potholes, and indeed the number of legal claims bought by road users for damage to vehicles.

“FSB would like to see local authorities in GM working more closely on a fix to these kinds of problems, especially if the region wants to boost productivity. We’ve had before ‘beacon council status’ in areas such as recycling, why not on road repairs? Our data shows some councils doing much better than others, so why not share the secret of their success.”

He added: “Small businesses need a dense, well-maintained road network to compete and grow,” he said. “Infrastructure investment is therefore the best way to improve productivity and connectivity. 

“We know our members rely heavily on the local road networks to do business. Their staff, their customers, as well as trade deliveries, all rely on fast and efficient road networks. Poorly maintained infrastructure hampers growth, and presents a low rent image for inward investors.  

“In Greater Manchester there were 26,524 complaints concerning potholes and damaged roads – that’s an increase on previous years and is equivalent to 73 complaints every single day. This tells a story that most road users, from bikes to bus drivers will, regrettably, be only too familiar with."

A spokesman for Trafford Council, said: “Trafford Council has spent over £36m in highway maintenance including pothole repairs over the past five years.

"The council has seen a reduction in the amount of funding available to it for this purpose in recent years.

"However, the One Trafford Partnership is continually endeavouring to complete as many repairs as is possible each year seeking to maximise the available resources and exploring cost effective emerging technologies.

"The council has just approved a further investment in the repair and maintenance of Trafford roads over the coming months and will continue to maximise investment in our highways asset at every opportunity.”