Absolutely potty! 27 patch ups on one street after council failed to finish the job

Matthew Durant and the potholes in Gravel Path, Berkhamsted
Matthew Durant and the potholes in Gravel Path, Berkhamsted
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One short stretch of a residential street has been temporarily repaired 27 times in two years after highways bosses failed to finish the job.

The road surface on Gravel Path in Berkhamsted is crumbling due to the daily battering of cars, vans and lorries using what is a main route in and out of the town.

Around 18 months ago, Herts County Council contractors completely resurfaced nearby Ravens Lane but failed to do the same with the stretch of Gravel Path between the junction of George Street and Beech Hill Court.

And now, after countless emails and phone calls to County Hall over the past two years, resident Matthew Durant has set up an online petition to get the road bumped up the priority list for resurfacing after being told the work might not be done until next year.

Mr Durant, who lives with wife Samantha, first moved into one of the street’s terraced cottages in January 2014.

He said: “When I’m sitting in our living room, I can hear the grit and the gravel hitting our door and windows.

“It’s disgusting, it’s not right. To see that every day, every time I go to work, is really depressing.”

The graphic designer, who works in Berkhamsted, says he often has to pressure-wash the front of his house to get rid of the dirt and grime sprayed at it by cars driving over the uneven road surface.

But he is hoping that by speaking to neighbours and gathering support for his online petition, that Herts County Council may come back and complete the job sooner rather than later.

Mr Durant said: “It’s an epidemic. We pay our council tax and my parents have corroborated that this amount has not changed hugely in about 20 years, but yet the same amount of money does not seem to go as far nowadays.

“I am frustrated at the system. There seems to be a lot of red tape – it’s such a long, drawn out process.”

Mr Durant recently met with the town’s county councillor Ian Reay to discuss the road, and while he said Mr Reay was sympathetic to his situation, he was told Gravel Path was ‘not a priority’.

Mr Reay, who is also a Berkhamsted town councillor for Castle ward, said: “It is an unfortunate situation and I do sympathise with Mr Durant.

“That stretch of road was never done because the project was unfinished, either because they ran out of money or because they had bad weather.

“At this time, it is not part of any integrated works programme but it is recognised as an incomplete job.”

The Gazette asked Herts County Council how many reports had been made about the state of Gravel Path in the past two years, as well as the estimated cost of the required resurfacing works, but no one was able to give an answer.

A spokesman said: “Ringway, working on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council, has carried out 27 repairs along Gravel Path since the start of 2014 in response to reports from the public.

“We’ve asked our surfacing contractor, Eurovia, to carry out resurfacing works on Gravel Path between the junction of George Street and Beech Hill Close as soon as possible in 2016/17 and will notify residents once this work is scheduled.

“We appreciate people’s patience while we make arrangements for the work to take place.”

Potholes can be reported on the council’s online fault reporting system at www.hertsdirect.org/highwayfaults