IT might be my imagination, but I was sure I could hear howls of derision echoing across the district at the news Government researchers had announced that only three miles of Bradford’s main roads need repairing.

Apparently, inspectors from the Department of Transport have examined the district’s A-roads with the help of scanning machines and decided they’re not as bad as we might like to think.

All I can suggest is, they must have been using a very old map.

Either that, or we’ve all just misunderstood the figures. Perhaps they meant that if you measure each pothole from side to side and then add them all up as if they were in a long line, you would have one three-mile long pothole?

That, at least, would be more realistic.

The DfT has not named the roads they say are in need of repairs but I’m sure most Telegraph & Argus readers would not take long to compile their own extensive lists.

You would expect those who spend all day long traversing the district’s roads to have a fair idea as to whether the DfT claims are realistic.

One such individual, driving instructor Ayub Khan, put it rather well: “I’m fixing the suspension on my car and it’s only two years old. I drive at a reasonable speed. I beg to differ with the Government - every single road here has potholes.”

OK, so he may be exaggerating slightly – and, to be fair, he probably isn’t only talking about potholes on A-roads.

But the DfT figures do seem to stretch the boundaries of disbelief for those who drive here regularly, especially as they come at the same time as warnings from the RAC that, nationally, the number of members’ cars suffering breakdowns caused by potholes is soaring.

According to the motoring organisation, 2,830 members’ cars were affected between October and December, compared to 2,547 for the same three-month period in 2016.

The RAC says the increase suggests the surface quality of roads has been affected by last year’s higher rainfall and more frequent frosty conditions. Damage suffered by cars included broken shock absorbers, suspension springs and distorted wheels.

Dave Bizley, the RAC’s chief engineer, said: “Potholes are a menace for drivers and other road users. They represent a road safety risk and a potentially costly one. And for those on two wheels the risk can genuinely be life-threatening.”

The poor state of roads can have real consequences for those make a living using them. For example, Shabbir Master, of the Hackney Carriage Owners and Drivers Association said: “The DfT inspectors need spectacles. There are roads that are disgusting and it’s taking its toll on maintaining our cars. It really does have an impact.”

And there are mixed messages about whether or not the situation is improving.

The DfT data, which also claimed that five per cent of B and C roads were likely to be in need of repair works and nine per cent of unclassified roads needed maintenance, suggested that road conditions have improved since they were inspected five years ago.

But the figures are based on road inspections carried out in the 12 months up to March 2017 and the RAC’s data suggests the situation is getting worse, with roads deteriorating since that date.

Mr Bizley says: ““After several years in which the surface quality of our roads appeared to be improving, the latest analysis of RAC breakdown data suggests that for the third successive quarter we have gone backwards.”

Help is supposed to be on the way, with the Government planning to spend £1.1 million per mile on motorways and A-roads between now and 2020. But that leaves only £21,000 per mile for local roads which means cash-strapped councils have to fund the remainder.

According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance, those roads make up 98 per cent of the network and carry two-thirds of the traffic.

Until local authorities get ring-fenced, long-term funding, it seems Bradford’s motorists are in for a bumpy ride for many years to come.

Cannons' return to park should fire imagination

WALKING with family in Roberts Park, Saltaire, over Christmas, I decided to look again at the history exhibition in one of the restored pavilions.

“I wonder what happened to the cannons?” was one of my comments. By happy coincidence, I now know after reading in a T&A report that they were melted down during World War Two.

I’m glad to see, though, they are to be replaced with some equally historic Bradford-made cannons herewith stored at the Industrial Museum, helping to ensure the restoration of Sir Titus Salt’s original vision is bang on...

Could a new tournament give Yorkshire a chance to excel?

I’M often tempted to think “Yorkshire” is used as a badge of convenience, as the never-ending arguments over devolution testify. It’s all too obvious people in Sheffield don’t give a monkey’s about what happens in Bradford, and vice versa.

Sport, however, seems to be a different matter, as support for our county cricket team illustrates.

So I was interested to see the emergence of the Yorkshire “international” side, which managed a creditable one-all draw with the Isle of Man’s “national” team in its first ever match, and after just one practice session.

It made me wonder whether there might just be room for an English County Championship tournament, with the players drawn from amateur sides and “gentlemen’s” rules more closely reflecting the true spirit of the game? It would at least give Yorkshire something else to be good at together.