Roads in Sheffield crumbling just months after being 'fixed' in £2bn overhaul

Cracks and potholes along Knowle Lane, in Ecclesall
Cracks and potholes along Knowle Lane, in Ecclesall
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Huge cracks and potholes are already appearing on roads across Sheffield which were resurfaced as part of a £2 billion upgrade.

These photos show the craters developing along Knowle Lane, in Ecclesall, where a new surface was laid around 18 months ago.

Some residents said Knowle Lane was already in a worse condition than before it had been resurfaced

Some residents said Knowle Lane was already in a worse condition than before it had been resurfaced

It is one of numerous roads around the city left crumbling just months after works were carried out, according to complaints from readers.

The 'dreadful' state of those streets was this week highlighted as the quality of workmanship came under fire from residents and politicians.

One couple living in Knowle Lane said it was already in a worse condition than before it was resurfaced, while another labelled the rapid deterioration 'ridiculous'.

Complaints also poured in to The Star about the standard of other roads which have been resurfaced, in neighbourhoods including Beighton, Crookes, Ecclesfield and Gleadless.

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg criticised the quality of work carried out on Knowle Road and other streets within the city

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg criticised the quality of work carried out on Knowle Road and other streets within the city

The gripes were not limited to potholes, with several people complaining the new surfaces were dangerously slippy or had caused flooding due to blocked drains.

Sheffield Council said Knowle Lane was one of a small number of streets where remedial work was required after resurfacing, in this case due to 'soft underlying surface layers'.

It claimed these represented a fraction of the more than 500 miles of road already resurfaced under its Streets Ahead programme, and said its contractor Amey would foot the bill for repairs.

Richard and Margaret Hardingham were among numerous householders along Knowle Lane to lash out at the standard of resurfacing work there.

Sheffield Council said Knowle Lane was due to be repaired by the end of the year

Sheffield Council said Knowle Lane was due to be repaired by the end of the year

"We think it's ridiculous and we hope the council has a quality check with its contracts. It can't have lasted more than 12 months before it started breaking up, and if we'd had a severe winter it could have been a lot worse," they said.

Another couple, who asked not to be named, said: "It's dreadful. The road's in a worse condition than it was before. It had patches that needed doing then but it wasn't breaking up all over the place like it is now.

"The council said it wasn't down to poor workmanship or poor materials. What is it down to, I would like to know?"

Not everyone living in the street shared their sense of fury, though. Clive Carter defended the quality of the road, adding 'there are a lot more problems in Sheffield than the roads around here', while others pointed out it was nowhere near as bad as nearby Woodholm Road which has yet to be resurfaced and is riddled with potholes.

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg

Knowle Lane falls within Ecclesall ward, which is represented by Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Sheffield Council, and within Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency.

Mr Clegg said he had also received complaints about similar problems on Greystones Road and on Chichester Road, in Crookes, and questioned the standard of work being carried out.

"It's a real shame the council seems to not be getting good value for money on its brand new roads which are already showing problems after a few years," he said.

"I hope the council will urgently investigate why this is happening and that Amey will do the correct thing and put this right at no extra cost to Sheffield taxpayers."

Coun Mohammed said: "During the course of a 25-year contract I would expect some roads to require repairs after the initial resurfacing. However, I never envisaged that happening 18 months down the line.

"If Amey hasn't done Knowle Lane up to a sufficient standard it's only right and proper that road is put right as soon as possible."

Sheffield Liberal Democrats leader Shaffaq Mohammed

Sheffield Liberal Democrats leader Shaffaq Mohammed

Streets Ahead is a 25-year deal between the council and private contractor Amey, funded with £1.2bn of central government money and £800m from the council's coffers.

The contract began in 2012 and the majority of improvements are due to be completed by the end of this year, with the city's streets then being maintained to their new standard by Amey over the remainder of the term.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for the environment, said: "We are aware that, unfortunately, the surface of Knowle Lane has deteriorated prematurely due to soft underlying surface layers. The road requires total reconstruction and this work will be carried out in 2017.


"There are a very small number of similar cases across Sheffield which account for a small percentage of over 500 miles of road that have already been resurfaced as part of the Streets Ahead contract.

"Occurrences such as these are not unusual on a contract of this size and we can reassure residents that the roads affected have either already been resurfaced or will be by the end of 2017.

"Streets Ahead is required to maintain all roads to a reasonable standard and any remedial work, such as that planned for Knowle Lane, will be at no extra cost to Sheffield City Council or Sheffield residents.

"The programme is committed to providing a high-quality and efficient service to the council and the residents of Sheffield for the full 25-year contract period."