WITNEY MP Robert Courts has insisted he remains determined to tackle West Oxfordshire’s pothole problem – but claims the situation has improved.

Mr Courts was due to investigate the district’s damaged roads this month alongside campaigner Mark Morrell, also known as Mr Pothole.

The meeting was cancelled by Mr Morrell after he announced his retirement from his campaigning for personal reasons, but the MP says he will continue to campaign ‘tirelessly’ for improvements.

Read again: Pothole campaigner challenges MP to tour damaged roads

Oxfordshire County Council fixed more than 1,800 defects across the district in January and February this year, while one driver has slammed a ‘dangerous’ section of road in Freeland, near Witney.

With hundreds of thousands of pounds set to be spent on road resurfacing in West Oxfordshire over the next 12 months, Mr Courts said he recognised potholes were still top of the agenda for many drivers.

He said: “I continue to campaign tirelessly to improve West Oxfordshire’s roads which remains one of the key concerns of local residents.

“Compared to last winter I have noticed a significant reduction in the level of correspondence I have received raising concerns over potholes.

“In fact, I have received a number of letters in recent months praising the improvements to their local road surface.

“This suggests that the additional £420 million of funding for local road maintenance in last Autumn’s Budget has had a demonstrable positive impact in West Oxfordshire.

“Nevertheless, potholes remains one of the top issues raised on the doorstep and there is still work to do to bring our roads up to the standard that we all want them to be at.”

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The Conservative has campaigned for upgrades to the A40, including improvements to the road surface, since his election in 2016.

Mr Courts also sits on Parliament’s Transport Select Committee, which is currently running an inquiry on potholes and continues to ‘take evidence from key stakeholders’ before producing a final report ‘in due course’.

Some of the MP’s constituents remain unhappy at the state of several roads, with many drivers complaining about the state of one stretch of Cuckoo Lane and Wroslyn Road in Freeland, near Witney.

Ollie Leech, 22, burst two tyres on the road within five days earlier this month and found some of the potholes were more than three inches deep.

Oxford Mail:

He said: “For half a mile down that road you’re weaving in and out of potholes.

“I’ve seen some close calls where people are swerving away from each other to try to avoid it.

“If you’re a motorcyclist and you hit one, you’re going off.

“Over the years they’ve worked on those roads but the whole thing needs to be ripped up and started again. It’s getting quite dangerous for drivers.”

The county council said a ‘surface dressing’ is being undertaken to improve the section, while the area could be improved as part of the council’s structural patching budget in the 2019/20 financial year.

Read again: 'Potholes in busy Oxford street need sorting fast'

Last month, the council announced it was spending an extra £13m maintaining roads and infrastructure across Oxfordshire in the next financial year, on top of its existing £18.5m programme of work.

This money will be spent on resurfacing, drainage, bridge repairs and footways.

It is unconfirmed how much of this will take place in West Oxfordshire, with the programme of schemes set to be published in the coming weeks.

The current programmed major resurfacing work in the district includes a £260,000 project on Eynsham’s Acre End Street and High Street, and a £228,000 scheme on Burford Road, Charlbury.

This follows several major resurfacing projects in 2018, including on the A40 at Barnard Gate, Woodstock’s Shipton Road and Witney High Street.

Oxford Mail:

Late last year, the government awarded the county council an extra £7.4m to use on road repairs in the county.

County council spokesperson Martin Crabtree said: “The £7.4m investment announced last year by the government has been spent to improve the condition of the roads across Oxfordshire.

“We were able to spend this money efficiently as we adopt an approach where we plan for future works programmes and we were able to accelerate the delivery of some schemes that we had planned to undertake in the following year.”

Read again: Council bids for £102m funding to upgrade A40

Liam Walker, county councillor for Hanborough and Minster Lovell, urged the public to use the website and app FixMyStreet to report potholes in their area.

He said: “Councillors don’t have a secret number and a red phone. We need people to report it and maybe the council needs to improve its messaging on that.

“People will focus on that one pothole on that commute to work, but we’ve done a lot of work that people don’t notice.”