Business losing out to pothole woes

Ben Cotgrove from Advanced Auto Service with some of the patched potholes.

Ben Cotgrove from Advanced Auto Service with some of the patched potholes. - Credit: Archant

A POTHOLE-RIDDLED road in Weston has been diverting trade away from the area, according to a businessman affected.

And despite North Somerset patching the holes on Station Road in St Georges, the owner of a garage whose business has been hit said the repairs would ‘not last long at all’.

Ben Cotgrove, who runs the Advanced Auto Service garage, said he had lost ‘hundreds of pounds’ of work due to the poor condition of the road, which leads to a busy industrial estate.

He said: “We’ve been open just over a year now and had quite a few customers who can’t bring their cars in because of the problems.

“It has been bad since we first started and both we and our clients are having to skirt around massive potholes.

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“One of our customers damaged his car on his way out as a result of the potholes which was quite expensive to repair, and as a result about four or five months ago I first got in touch with the council to try and get something done.”

In the past few weeks, the road has been patched by North Somerset Council, but Mr Cotgrove said problems remain.

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He added: “One of my friends came down who does road repairs quite regularly, and he said it’s not going to last long at all.

“They have just poured a bit of tarmac down but when a heavy lorry comes along, it is not going to hold. From what I can tell, it just needs resurfacing.

“It is not just me who is affected, there are a number of houses on this road and the industrial estate.

“It makes me wonder what I pay my business rates for, really.

“It does not look great for business at all, when you have got a car in and you have got to drive off down the road dodging potholes as you go.”

Earlier this year, North Somerset Council launched a new scheme to tackle pothole problems in the area, costing more than half a million pounds, with two smart teams set up to ‘fix it once and fix it well’.

Speaking at the time, deputy leader of North Somerset, Elfan Ap Rees, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to invest in the roads of North Somerset, we want to make sure we’re making best use of the resources we’ve got to deal with the ongoing issues of potholes on the roads.

“We know that pothole repairs are really important to our residents, so we want to make sure that when people report them to us, that we’re able to respond quickly, get them filled, and do the repair to a high standard.”

When contacted about the issues with Station Road, a council spokesman said: “We have a significant backlog of repairs on the highway network, and our priority is to treat busier residential roads first.

“The work we have done has made the area safe.”

As recently as July, an extra £650,000 was also made available to tackle potholes in the area, with £3.2million allocated for 2014/15 from the Department for Transport overall.

More than 4,000 complaints were lodged about potholes in North Somerset between March 2013 and 2014, almost doubling those from the previous year.

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