Hyndburn’s battered roads have been compared to a ‘third world’ country amid warnings the potholes problem could soon cause death or serious injury.

Community leaders say the number of pothole-ridden streets across the borough is ‘beyond a joke’ and will cost millions of pounds to repair.

Thousands of potholes and road defects have been reported over the last few months to highways bosses at county hall.

Tory-run Lancashire County Council has blamed the previous Labour administration for ‘serious underfunding of highways maintenance’.

But Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “You look at the state of the roads and we are becoming a third world country.

"It’s really appalling. The size of the potholes now are beyond a joke.

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“They are above your ankles when you stand in them and there is serious damage being caused to vehicles.

“You are now having to swerve around them which is a danger to oncoming traffic.

“It’s a really serious issue and could cause death or serious injury. We are not far away from fatalities.”

Coun Parkinson claims potholes are costing the county council an ‘absolute fortune’ in compensation claims and that earlier intervention is needed when repairing the roads.

He said: “We are reporting potholes when they are just coming through, they come out and say it’s not deep enough for intervention.

“But in another week it’s going to be deep enough and is going to be worse.

“It’s simply lunacy when they could come once and do a proper job.”

He claimed that road repairs would be done better if the responsibility for their maintenance came back under the district council’s control.

Hyndburn Tory group leader Tony Dobson said some of his roads ‘look like they are from Beirut’.

Potholes in Hyndburn April 2018. Cambridge Street in Great Harwood

He said: “They have doubled the budget from £5m to £10m which is highly significant but then again for the whole of Lancashire that may not be enough.

“I am impatient - like residents - to see that as much work is being done in Hyndburn as possible. There is a situation where there’s only a finite amount of workforce that has the abilities to lay tarmac.

“The rollout of such a big programme can take a little bit of time.

“I’m calling on my colleagues at LCC to please get on with it as quickly as possible and spend our fair share in Hyndburn.”

MP Graham Jones said: “I’ve never known the roads to be as bad as they are now.

“They are an absolute disgrace.”

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County council leader Coun Geoff Driver said they have set aside £10m specifically to fix potholes, and their annual road resurfacing programme is underway.

He said: “We’ve recently received an extra £2.4m from central government who have recognised the impact of a colder and wetter than average winter.

“This will add to the £23m we’ve already budgeted. We’re already getting on top of the winter potholes, and people will really start to notice the difference as the weather improves over the coming weeks.”

He added: “These comments demonstrate yet again that Labour do not understand local government finance which explains why they have left the council in such a mess and why their serious underfunding of highways maintenance during the four years of their administration, of which Coun Parkinson was a part.

“We allocate funding for road repairs according to their condition on a countywide basis rather than allocating a certain amount to each district, so it does not make sense to compare the spend between districts without considering factors such as the length of road within those districts and their relative condition.”

Potholes in Hyndburn April 2018. Sands Road in Rishton

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Great Harwood

Coun Noordad Aziz: “Some roads have just gone back to cobbles. They might be saving money on making repairs but the amount of people who are claiming on the LCC insurance makes it a false economy. On Lowerfold Road alone one resident counted 286 potholes!”

Baxenden

Coun Terry Hurn: “Lancashire County Council have put £10 million towards it. It’s a start. I believe they’ve got these machines that now fill in potholes and are quite quick and efficient. The sooner we get them around our borough and especially in Baxenden the better.”

Oswaldtwistle

Coun Judith Addison: “What seems silly to me is that I report by email to LCC two potholes that are close to each other and one gets done and the other doesn’t. When they have been repaired it would seem sometimes that the quality of the work or materials is poor.”

Rishton

Coun Jeff Scales: “We’ve recently had a cold snap and you are seeing it more and more with larger chunks of the road surface coming up. I’ve hit so many potholes now that I’m amazed I’ve still got a wheel on the front of my car. It just makes our area look really, really neglected.”

Huncoat

Coun Eamonn Higgins: “We have had hundreds of complaints from residents about potholes. Huncoat is particularly bad, especially the one on Burnley Road which is an accident waiting to happen.”

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Church

Coun Jean Battle: “Church Lane is appalling, Hyndburn Road is dreadful. I think it could get to a state where they will have to close some of them because they are so dangerous. You are manoeuvring around the potholes.”