Barnet Council has come under fire for allegedly causing a ‘pothole plague’ in the borough by using private contractors to carry out road repairs.

Liberal Democrat candidate Roger Tichborne claims the Conservative-run council has allowed contractors to self-certify pothole repairs in a bid to save money.

He said that before the maintenance work was outsourced, the council inspected and signed off repairs before any bills were paid.

The claims come after a group of neighbours in East Barnet complained they were being kept awake at night by cars driving over potholes and causing their homes to shake.

Mr Tichborne, who is standing in the Mill Hill ward, said: “The council thought they could save money by sacking staff who guaranteed repairs were done properly.

“Anyone who has ever used a builder knows that if the work is not inspected, it is not done properly.

“As a result, repairs are not done properly, some have been bodged a dozen times. This is not a saving.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a review of how council contracts are managed.

Mr Tichborne added: “The Lib Dems will employ staff to ensure contractors do the job properly. We will not throw money at problems and hope they go away.”

Hendon resident David Cowan, who lives on Sunny Gardens Road, said he had contacted council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius and given him the exact location of potholes in his area – but the council had failed to act.

Mr Cowan said: “It would appear that some of these holes have had several repeat repairs done with nothing more than shovelling a blob of tar in the hole.

“I have expressly asked that they now be permanently repaired to the highest standard.”

Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, blamed the recent cold weather for the pothole problems and insisted they would be repaired.

He said: “The roads were in quite good condition before the cold weather. We have four gangs out all the time repairing them at the moment. If they are reported, they do get fixed.”

Mr Cornelius said the council had been carrying out temporary repairs until the weather improved.

“Now the cold weather is over, the proper patching is taking place,” he added.

The council leader denied the problem was down to the use of private contractors and said the pothole situation in Barnet was “no better or worse” than in other boroughs.