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Driver demands pothole action
Published 04/03/13

A MOTORIST has launched a one-man campaign against potholes.

David Gobbett, of Elizabeth Road, Henley, has photographed more than 50 craters on roads in Henley and South Oxfordshire.

He has sent the evidence to Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for roads, asking that the holes are repaired.

Mr Gobbett, 77, decided to take action after his car was damaged by a pothole but the council refused to compensate him.

He said potholes were a danger because they distracted the attention of drivers.

“In trying to avoid the potholes you are in danger of hitting traffic coming the other way because you have to go into the middle of the road,” he said. “It can also damage your vehicle by wrecking a wheel so it’s dangerous for driving. I hit potholes pretty much once a month. When you’re driving and it’s pouring with rain and there are cars coming the other way you are literally trying to find the edge of the verge without going on to it.

“You also can’t see the potholes. I’m a very careful driver but often there are no white lines to guide you.

“You don’t really want to be concentrating on looking at holes, you want to be looking at other traffic and road users.”

Mr Gobbett drove his Peugeot 206 through a pothole on the road between Stoke Row and Highmoor in October, causing a tyre to deflate later when he was driving through Crays Pond. His wheel rim and trim and suspension strut were also damaged.

He twice put in claims for the £170 damage but the council dismissed them despite admitting it had made a mistake in saying a survey of the road had been completed that month when in fact it had taken place in June.

Mr Gobbett, a retired accounts manager, carried out his own survey on three days last week and photographed more than 50 potholes in Henley, Peppard, Gallowstree Common, Crays Pond and Rotherfield Greys.

He said he hoped his campaign would help speed up the council’s repairs programme.

Mr Gobbet said: “I do understand how difficult it is for the council to be able to cover everything it is doing on these roads because of the fierce winter and its limited budget.

“Nevertheless, I feel it should be done and what I’m doing is not just to emphasise the intention to pursue my claim but to get public support for getting something done. That bit of cash doesn’t matter to me much, it’s the principle.”

Mr Gobbett said there were problems on many country roads, with Horsepond Road in Gallowstree Common being particularly bad.

He discovered three wheel trims, one of which was smashed to pieces, on the side of the road next to one pothole and said some craters measured up to 90cm long, 30cm wide and 10cm deep.

Mr Gobbett said the Hunters Ride estate in Henley, where he lives, was in a “dreadful state” with a number of potholes and gullies full with weeds.

A county council spokesman said: “We work hard all-year round to deal with potholes, which are a reality of any road network. We carry out regular routine inspections and we would encourage the public to follow Mr Gobbett’s lead and report any potholes they come across.”

To report a pothole, call 0845 310 1111.

Published 04/03/13

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