Potholes – A sad sign of UK’s crumbling society?

Hazlemere Window Company Marketing Director Mark Austin Making His Point About Too Many Potholes
Hazlemere Windows Marketing Director Mark Austin Making His Point About Too Many Potholes
On page 3 of last Tuesday’s Bucks Free Press Midweek newspaper, there was a stark headline of “Pothole will kill someone“. Driver Ray Richardson from Princes Risborough in Bucks reportedly hit a pothole in Station Road, Little Kimble on his way to work and damaged three tyres.

His compensation claim to Bucks County Council will apparently take 5-10 months to process, whereas he has to fork out for three new tyres now, plus is not guaranteed to be refunded the enforced outlay. It is a sad sign of both the way we are governed in the UK that taxpayers have to fork out upfront, but councils can not only delay payments, but can seemingly choose if and when they repair potholes.

It seems to me that the UK Government want more and more from taxpayers with increasingly shrinking disposable incomes, whilst delivering/providing less and less in return. This is why I believe potholes are symbolic of our crumbling short term UK society, given our infrastructure is the life-blood of the nation, which the Government and local council’s have a civic duty to maintain. More of us use the roads more often, and more than any other public service, so a large part of our experience of the environment directly realtes to the condition of the public highways. After the pothole crisis in 2009/2010 you’d have thought the lesson would have been learned by both Westminster and County Councils……clearly not.

In the South Bucks Star last Thursday, the front page headline was “The cost to rid our roads of potholes is estimated at £120 million“. And thats just Bucks! Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Transport Val Letheren says it is up to us taxpayers to register potholes. Everyone knows that repairing the potholes is not the best long term solution, proper re-surfacing of the roads is the answer, but of course councils claim they can not “afford” to. The real question is can they afford the financial costs of not resurfacing Buckinghamshire’s road network? Compensation claims and costs of repairs are only going to continue to increase until the political will is there to do the right thing for the country. By the way, if you want to report a Bucks pothole call 0845 230 2882

The strapline on page 13 of last Friday’s Bucks Free Press Newspaper read “Tell us instead where there are no potholes”, alongside a picture of a pothole in Marlow Common where the BFP reported at least three cars have suffered damage. I personally encounter dozens of potholes on my way to and from work in High Wycombe, many of which are difficult to avoid, and some extremely dangerous to cyclists and motorbikes, let alone motorists and pedestrians.

Our “elected” officials, just don’t seem to have got the message. Taxpayers expect decent roads and services to be provided by their local councils. They are not really interested in all the political in-fighting or arguments with central Government. Potholes, and temporary repairs to potholes are a depressingly visible, embarrasing and sad daily reminder that we currently live in a crumbling society.

What I believe the UK desperately needs is leadership at national, regional and local level, driven by conviction and direction to drag the UK highways and byways back from Third World standards, setting out a long term re-surfacing plan (which will actually cost less in the long term) to get the road network into some sort of decent order before someone gets killed and/or seriously injured by a dangerous pothole.


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