Mr Pothole visits Kings Norton


Last Friday, Cllr Pete Griffiths and I welcomed “Mr Pothole” to Kings Norton. Mark “Mr Pothole” Morrell is national campaigner for better road maintenance who I have got to know and respect as Labour’s Shadow Roads Minister.

The purpose of the visit was to look at how Birmingham City Council’s Highways contract is being managed by Amey PLC, using Rednal and Hillmeads Roads in Kings Norton as examples.

On the plus side, Amey does have a systematic maintenance programme for Birmingham’s roads following a road condition survey a few years ago – something that you could not take for granted in every part of the country. On the less positive note, Amey’s occasional claims to have eliminated a backlog in pothole repairs just does not reflect the everyday reality we all see.

We showed Amey evidence of recent repairs carried out on Rednal Road while deep potholes just a few yards away had apparently gone unnoticed. Sure, highlighting this to Amey representatives secured a temporary repair to a particularly bad pothole while we were there.

However this still begs the question about why it had gone unnoticed up to that point – and about why roads as badly putted as Rednal Road and Hillmeads Road are still not on Amey’s programme for resurfacing next year. Neither Rednal Road nor Hillmeads roads are unique. I could have shown Amey other serious examples of neglect across the Northfield area.

As Labour’s Shadow Roads Minister I have spoken out against David Cameron’s government’s neglect of road maintenance, and how Ministers’ recent claims to have put more money in still do not make up for the millions more they have cut from local road repairs since 2010. Unless there is a change, Britain is facing a pothole backlog of no less than 13 years. We need a new Government that gives local road maintenance the priority it deserves – and one which understands that if you invest to #fixitfirst, you save money in the long run.

In the meantime, a great new Street Repairs app allows you to report any dangerous potholes you see via your smart phone and have your report directed through to the local authority responsible. The app is nothing to do with the Government and it is a great initiative which can really help get things changed. I am proud to back it and I know Mr Pothole is proud to back it too.


Recent Posts

Richard Burden

Avatar photo

I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Get in touch

You can reach me by email at or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.