About £1.5 million has been spent on repairing more than 25,000 potholes on Darlington roads in the past four years. 

Hundreds of potholes are reported by residents on an annual basis, with 3,147 recorded by Darlington Borough Council since 2020. Last year saw the highest number of potholes reported - 978 - compared to 349 the previous year. That figure is set to be surpassed, as new figures show 676 were reported this year up to March. 

Data obtained by the Local Democracy Reporting Service shows the local authority repairs significantly more potholes compared to the amount reported. The data shows 25,688 potholes have been repaired since 2020. A total of £1,491,896 on fixing potholes between 2020-2024 to date. 

Compensation totalling £6,176 has been paid out to claimants who have reported vehicle damage to the council due to potholes and road defects in the same time period. Darlington Borough Council’s investigatory level for a pothole is 4cm depth and 30cm width. 

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with cllr Jonathan Dulston (far left), Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen (far right) and Darlington MP Peter Gibson (second from left) in Firthmoor looking at a pothole during a visit to DarlingtonPrime Minister Rishi Sunak with cllr Jonathan Dulston (far left), Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen (far right) and Darlington MP Peter Gibson (second from left) in Firthmoor looking at a pothole during a visit to Darlington (Image: PA)

Potholes have also affected members of the council, as deputy leader Chris McEwan recently revealed the spring broke in his car due to the rugged state of the roads. 

The town has become almost synonymous with potholes since the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, was pictured pointing at one alongside Peter Gibson MP, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and Cllr Jonathan Dulston in April 2023. 

But the town’s roads were rocky long before the prime minister’s comical photo op, as the data shows. And earlier this year, the council warned it has a £78 million road maintenance backlog - with a budget of just £2.7million available to spend on networks including roads, pathways, cycle routes and bridges. 

The Northern Echo: Potholes on Whessoe Road, Darlington Potholes on Whessoe Road, Darlington (Image: Chris Booth)

The town’s Conservative MP, Peter Gibson, praised his ‘pothole patrol’ social media campaign which highlights the worst road defects in Darlington. 

He said: “I'm being contacted about potholes in Darlington on a daily basis. It’s clear to see that the council just needs to crack on with fixing our potholes.

“I recently launched a campaign to highlight potholes in Darlington, where I personally photograph the worst and send them to the council for comment and action

“The Government has recently increased highways funding to Darlington Borough Council by over £5 million pounds, including increased funding available to deal with potholes. So with the extra money they have been given, they just get on with it.”

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The council said it has filled nearly twice as many potholes this winter than last year. Cllr Libby McCollom, cabinet member for local services, said: "The maths is clear for anyone that Conservative underfunding has led us to this point.

"For my money, Mr Gibson would be better off spending his remaining time as an MP in Westminster advocating for a better funding formula, with longer term settlements to make better plans, than taking pictures of his shoes next to defects in the highways (some of which aren't actually potholes)."

An initial list has been published of the roads which are set to benefit from repairs thanks to the reallocation of HS2 cash in the region. 

Full list of road repairs: 

Alwyn Road

Banks Road

Barrett Road

Bisley Court

Blackwell Close

Blackwell Grove

Brunton Street

Cannobie Close

Carmel Grove

Chepstow Court

Church Lane - Sadberge

Cleveland Terrace

Coombe Drive

Derby Street

Eldon Place

Eldon Street

Fulthorpe Grove

Headingley Crescent

Holwick Road

Hopetown Lane

Hundens Lane

Hundens Lane, West Bank

Judith Close

Kielder Drive

Lodge Lane to Brafferton

Longfield Road

Mallory Court 

Marshall Street

Maxwell Close

Neasham Road - Middleton One Row to Neasham

Neasham Hill to Neasham

Parkland Drive

Progress Way

Ramsey Walk

Roundhill Road

Sockburn Lane to Neasham

Station Road

Strait Lane, Hurworth

Temperance Place

Warwick Square

West Green, Heighington

Westlands Road