Tuesday, 17 July 2018

£2,500 to fix puddle pothole

A LARGE pothole said to be a danger to drivers will be fixed at a cost of £2,500.

A LARGE pothole said to be a danger to drivers will be fixed at a cost of £2,500.

The crater in the lay-by outside the entrance to council allotments in Horsepond Road, Gallowstree Common, fills with water every time it rains and sometimes floods the road.

At least five people have been left stranded after accidentally driving into the hole.

Sonning Common Parish Council, which owns the allotments, has been lobbying Oxfordshire County Council to mend the hole for the past six months.

Now the authority has agreed to carry out repairs including strengthening the verge and installing posts on it to prevent people from parking there. Parish clerk Philip Collings said: “The council is saying it is going to fill the hole and that will be fine.

“It’s a very real danger. It’s a narrow road and cars travel very fast along it. Someone on a bicycle could easily end up in this hole and be in trouble.”

In November, the parish council suggested installing a soakaway after three cars were reported to have been stuck in the hole but the county council said it did not have enough funds.

In December, a formal complaint was lodged by the parish council after a lorry was accidentally driven into the hole and lost its load. The council said the danger had been made worse by the hedge being cut back, encouraging drivers to travel nearer the edge of the road.

In the same month a disabled women pulled over and accidentally drove into the hole. She was unable to get out of her car due to the water and police had to rescue her.

This incident prompted the parish council to call for urgent action.

In an email to the county council’s highways committee, Mr Collings wrote: “This has now gone beyond a joke. When will it be fixed — do we have to wait for a death?”

Keith Stenning, the county council’s area highways steward, blamed alloment holders for the problem.

He said: “The verge appears to have been totally eroded by vehicles using the area to park while they visit the allotments and as a result water is able to collect and flood the verge and the road.

“With the available funding, I have arranged for the verge to be built back up using a combination of recycled road material and topsoil and for some wooden verge posts to be installed to prevent a repeat of the parking on this exposed verge.

“If we can stretch the funding, additional grips will be cut to allow more carriageway water to drain off the highway.”

Mr Collings said he didn’t think parked cars were the cause.

“The hole is part of an old ditch, a short length of which was last dug out a year or so ago,” he said. “The spoil was piled up on the inside and the water had nowhere to go and so, being at the lowest point of the dip, it just collected there.”

The parish council has agreed to spend £2,500 on improving drainage in the car park at the allotments. This will involve putting down 60 tonnes of road planings to raise the surface.

Councillor Carol Viney, who represents Sonning Common on the county council, believes the two projects could complement each other.

She said: “A lot of the dangers have been caused by water coming from the allotments. When cars pass they automatically have to go on the verge and it can make them slide. It also wears the verge.

“We will at least mitigate the problem and hopefully when the parish council does its work that will help solve it.”

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