Complaints over danger potholes on Marine Drive East along Barton clifftop
“IT’S just wasting public money” – this was a Barton resident’s complaint after thousands of pounds was spent on resurfacing clifftop car parks while a road nearby remained littered with potholes.
John Rayner, who has lived on Marine Drive East for seven years, told the A&T the defects had got worse over the years.
Fearing they could cause a serious accident, he questioned why they were left while work was carried out at the car parks.
The car parks are owned by New Forest District Council, while Hampshire Highways at the county council is responsible for road maintenance, but Mr Rayner wants to see greater co-operation between the two councils “so the left hand knows what the right hand is doing”.
The Marine Drive 3 car park was resurfaced about a year ago, followed by Marine Drive East in the past month.
Claiming an on-site foreman at the latter even told him the work was not needed, Mr Rayner highlighted a line of potholes along the homes side of the road.
“They’re tarmacking car parks, but leaving the road – it’s crazy,” he said.
“It’s just wasting public money.
“One of the potholes is about 9-10in deep, so if a motorcyclist hit it, they would go over the handlebars.”
The problem was exacerbated, he believed, by vehicles driving onto the grass verge to avoid oncoming traffic passing on-street parking along the cliff side.
He said there had been no further action since workers circled the defects with white paint about 18 months ago.
Calling for extended double yellow lines – painted elsewhere along Marine Drive East – to prevent on-street parking, Mr Rayner complained he was passed back and forth between NFDC and Hampshire Highways.
“No one seems to want to stand up and be counted,” he said.
“The potholes are horrendous. The annoying thing is Marine Drive West is a much wider road and they’ve yellow-lined that.”
Mr Rayner believed at least one passing motorist had blown a tyre.
“The councils put it down to money, but if they can find the money to tarmac a car park that doesn’t need tarmacking... say nothing more,” he added.
Sharing his concerns, fellow Barton resident Eric Moore also complained his car’s wheel and steering mechanism was recently damaged by a pothole on the B3058, between the A35 and the Rising Sun pub at Wootton.
Calling for recompense for the £600-plus repairs, Mr Moore said: “I reported the pothole and damage to Hampshire Highways. They were aware but hadn’t repaired it.”
Responding to the Marine Drive East criticism, an HCC spokesperson said: “Our highways team repaired a number of potholes and other road defects along Marine Drive East during the summer and, according to our records, there are none outstanding.”
But, urging people to report potholes online at tinyurl.com/2pnsdvnn, they added: “This ensures that defect reports are properly logged, and sites prioritised for repair and/or monitoring.”
In July, HCC approved an extra £22.5m, over three years, for highway maintenance, as part of its Stronger Roads Today campaign for faster reactive road defect repairs.
The spokesperson commented it was considering appropriate new parking controls to address on-street parking concerns along Marine Drive East and West.
They added: “Any proposals formulated will be subject to full consultation with local people over the winter, as part of the traffic regulation order process.”
On the B3058 pothole, the spokesperson said further maintenance work on the route was pending.
Guidance for marking claims for vehicle damage from a public highway defect can be found at tinyurl.com/ajs6jy3m
An NFDC spokesperson confirmed there was a £30,000 budget for the Marine Drive car park work, adding: “Works in NFDC-owned car parks are unrelated and as such we have no remit to influence highway pothole works.”
Neither NFDC nor HCC answered A&T questions on how they might work together on resurfacing.
New Milton mayor Cllr David Hawkins spoke out about the issue with potholes in the area at Monday’s town council amenities committee meeting.
He was responding to a letter from Hampshire County Council’s Cllr Nick Adams-King, asking town and parish councils if they have problems with flooded ditches and watercourses that could cause flooding, or with overgrown vegetation that could hamper visibility at road junctions.
“Highways, I find quite funny,” Cllr Hawkins commented. “There’s no mention of potholes or the state of the roads, for goodness sake.
“We should reply saying, ‘Thanks very much, but what are you going to do about all the potholes?”