I’d happily pay an extra tenner a year for better roads – wouldn’t you?

Potholes on Tower Way, Canterbury, before they were filled in


I was toying with the idea of calling this column “spring is bustin’ out all over”, not in a kind of homage to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, but rather in homage to the busted nearside front spring in my car which had to be replaced last week.

It doesn’t seem that long since I had a similar broken spring replaced on my wife’s car: yep, north Canterbury is pothole city. 

And its not the main roads that do the damage it’s all the unmaintained estate roads and rat runs which are a constant stream of humps and bumps.

Of course hit a shatteringly big pothole that collapses your suspension and you can prove that did it and sue the county council, but it’s not just the big holes that do it, it’s that constant dribble of humps and bumps stressing the steel until it can take no more.

Can I identify the pothole that caused my spring to break? No. Have I any redress for poorly maintained roads? No. So what to do? Have I just got to grin (or grimace), and bear it?

So I thought, I can’t be the only motorist suffering cumulative damage from poorly maintained roads and I’ve got no comeback on anyone – in any case the county council is permanently strapped for cash.

What we need is some sort of voluntary levy where all we motorists can choose to bung the county council an extra tenner each year for say five years with the proviso it must be spent on non-main road maintenance and mustn’t be used to replace the highway maintenance budget.

Yes, I know we pay our council tax and our road fund licence but frankly that’s not solving the problem of years of neglect is it?

An extra tenner a year for better roads, that would be a bargain and a lot cheaper than new springs. I’m up for it, what about the rest of you?

Bob Britnell is the former principal planning officer at Canterbury City Council and now runs his own consultancy offering planning and conservation advice. He lives in Tyler Hill.


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