It is 10 times longer than Liz Truss' premiership, almost six times the period it took to build Carrow Road and 72 days more than were needed to complete the Empire State Building.

But 482 days is the length of time it took for Norfolk County Council contractors to repair a pothole in Reepham.

The wait to fix the defect in the town's Church Street was highlighted in a national survey of the time it takes for councils to carry out road surface repairs.

It was the third longest recorded, exceeded only by a pothole in Stoke-on-Trent (587 days) and another in Westminster (556 days). Norfolk was one of only five councils to leave a hole for more than a year.

It underlines the scale of the problem in the county, where the average time to fix potholes has almost doubled in a year. The council is now the fourth slowest in the country at carrying out road repairs.

Eastern Daily Press: Church Street in Reepham, where a pothole took 482 days to fixChurch Street in Reepham, where a pothole took 482 days to fix (Image: Denise Bradley)

The figures were collated nationally by the Liberal Democrats, who have described a "plague" of poor road surfaces creating dangers for motorists who swerve to avoid the holes and cyclists who can be thrown from their bikes by them.

Drivers also face the risk of damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension and wheels.

Brian Watkins, leader of the Lib Dem group at County Hall, said: '"This has become an increasing menace to many of Norfolk's motorists.

"This is simply not good enough, and drivers are often facing huge repair bills to their vehicles following damage from potholes."

He said the government had cut councils' highways maintenance budgets by £500m since 2020/21 and chancellor Jeremy Hunt had only given back £200m of that in the spring budget.

Mr Watkins said: "Councils are increasingly hard-pressed to deal with the huge backlog of repairs, and this cut should be fully reversed as soon as possible.

"Motorists in Norfolk are becoming more and more frustrated with the situation, and something must be done to sort out the mess."

Eastern Daily Press: Potholes in Brian Avenue, in NorwichPotholes in Brian Avenue, in Norwich (Image: Newsquest)

A spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council said the Reepham repair took so long because when the hole - on a quiet street in the centre of the town - was first reported it was too small to repair. It was monitored and fixed once it had worsened.

The 482 days between it being reported and being repaired compares with the 44 days that South West Norfolk MP Ms Truss was in Number, the 82 days it took to build Carrow Road in 1935 and 410 days to complete the Empire State Building in 1930-31.

It was one of 8,085 potholes reported to Norfolk County Council in 2021/22.

The average time it took to fix them went up from 19.76 days in 2020/21 (when there were around 800 fewer potholes reported) to 39.93 days.

The spokeswoman said: "The small surface defect on Church Street Reepham was only a few millimetres deep when originally reported and too shallow for us to successfully carry out a repair at that stage.

"However the team did continue to monitor the issue and repairs were carried out when needed."

She added: "All issues reported to us will be inspected and prioritised for repair, depending on the location of the pothole on the road and how busy the route is, for example the most urgent issues will be made safe within two hours."

Eastern Daily Press: Brian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County CouncilBrian Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council (Image: Liberal Democrats)

She urged people to report potholes to the council at

Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure at the Conservative-controlled council, recently welcomed a £6m roads boost from the spring budget.

The council's budget for patching and potholes increased from £7.5m in 2022/23 to £8.2m in 2023/24.

Eastern Daily Press: Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transportGraham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport (Image: Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk)



Council officials said more than 96pc of highway defects were repaired within the authority's own targets - and it was a matter of needing to prioritise.

When highways officers investigate defects they assign them a priority A, B, C or D, which determines how long it should take before it is fixed.

That priority is based on factors such as the size of the defect - with those more than 75mm deep given most urgent attention.

The position on the road and how important the road is also plays a part.


Mention potholes on Norfolk roads to drivers and cyclists and, chances are, most people will have a tale to tell about a particularly pock-marked road which especially irks them.

It's little wonder that people get worked up by the cavities, craters, dips and depressions which go unfilled.

Council tax bills go up year after year, and we like to believe that the money we contribute to council coffers will be used to keep the county's roads in good nick.

But we do not always get what we want, as evidenced by the long wait which has had to be endured when it comes to some of the county's potholes.

The average wait to get potholes fixed in Norfolk has gone up over the past year, from 19.76 days in 2020/21 to 39.93 days last year.

And the longest wait to get one - in Reepham - fixed was a remarkable 482 days. That's a 16-month wait to get a hole filled in.

To be fair to Norfolk County Council, the authority's explanation for that long, long wait is that the hole was initially too small - that it was not deemed a priority.

The council says there were other pot-holes, larger ones on much busier roads than Church Street in Reepham, which County Hall's highways teams decided should take precedence.

That's not an unreasonable argument. And the longer wait year-on-year does come as the number of potholes reported increased.

But, by the council's own admission it would cost millions of pounds to clear the maintenance backlog on Norfolk's roads - millions of pounds which a council which is having to make £60m of cuts and savings - simply doesn't have.

The council does set aside money to fix potholes, but it clearly is not enough, as evidenced by the government annually announcing a 'boost' for authorities with headline-grabbing 'extra cash' for potholes.

Perhaps if the government were to better fund local councils in the first place, authorities like Norfolk would know exactly how much money they have to fix potholes each year and could plan accordingly.

When people report potholes they expect action. And, in anyone's books, 482 days is a remarkable amount of time to have to wait.