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Potholes !

Updated: May 18

Pothole in road surface with leaf

Recent communications with Council and Highways authorities relating to residents' pothole complaints in Sutton Mandeville.

Email 30 April 2024 from Parish Council to Wiltshire Councillor Najjar Nabil, CC Area Highways Engineer...

Dear Nabil,

Councillors have asked me to write to you, following last evening's Annual Parish Meeting, to express the concerns of both residents and Councillors about the roads within the parish and in particular the large number of potholes and erosion of the road edges forcing drivers towards the centre of the road. Residents appreciate that our Parish Steward does fill some potholes - indeed I met him last week as he was putting 4 and a half bags of tarmac into a very large pothole on the C24 at Ham Cross. He also told me that he had filled a number in Sutton Row. The problem is that repairs do not last. Ham Cross has been attended to on a number of occasions but the tarmac seems to be washed out and we are back to square one.

Councillors are finding it difficult to explain to residents that work required is reported, requested, sometimes carried out but not lasting. Questions were raised about the monitoring of the work and whether or not an inspection regime exists. I was unable to respond to this but was asked to enquire.

The Parish Council appreciates that this is a nationwide problem and that rainfall has been very damaging this year, but it had been understood that the quality of repair under the Milestones contract would be an improvement on its predecessor. Unfortunately, in Sutton Mandeville, this is not proving to be the case.

I should add that as the C24 descends to Lower Chicksgrove there are 2 bank slips, both reported on the My Wilts app. Atop one and close to the edge is a telegraph pole. I do fear it falling on a passing car. The Parish Steward informed me that he too had reported the matter.

I further add that following up on contact with you via Cllr. Mrs Clutterbuck about the poor state of the road surface beneath the railway bridge on the Ham Cross/Fovant road  felt, in part, to have been caused by a dripping gutter from the bridge  the Parish Council has been in contact with Network Rail. Their engineers confirm the broken gutter and assure us it will be repaired but not as an immediate priority. They do state that the matter of repair to the road surface is one for Wiltshire Council.I would be happy to forward to you their communications with us.

Councillors are always grateful for all work completed in the parish and always very much appreciate advice offered . 

Best wishes, Jane Childs, Parish Clerk, Sutton Mandeville Parish Council


Response 15 May 2024 from Area Highways Engineer, SWWiltshire

Dear Jane,


Thank you for your email.


While I note your collective unhappiness with the amount and standards of pothole reinstatement, I can only comment that reinstatement of individual potholes is unlikely to be aesthetically pleasing, nor will it be as long lasting as works carried out by more comprehensive hand and machine patching gangs, especially as the road surfaces where potholes occur are generally already showing age and weather related degradation overall, over longer stretches.


Where clusters of potholes and wider areas of wear and damage are found following inspections and My Wilts reports, our technicians have the option to raise work instructions for hand patching or Bobcat small machine hot tarmac patching and I’m am encouraging the area technician to raise those where possible, as the finished article will be neater, cover a larger area and be longer lasting. However the latter process’s often require complete road closures for works access and safety and are clearly limited by available budget due to the volumes of materials involved. Clearly we can’t provide or afford patching for every pothole. We also have the Dragon Patcher mobile machine that is also infilling some of the needy areas currently.


I can advise that every length of adopted highway is subject to a driven inspection, but the frequency of that depends on the road classification. We do not have the resources to inspect finished pothole works generally, nor is that considered necessary for the reasons I’ve given in paragraph 2 above.


With regard to the landslips at Lower Chicksgrove I had these inspected again at the end of last week, ie following a natural period of settlement and monitoring. The slips have been found not to be serious and an instruction has now been issued to our contractor to clear the soil arisings from the base.


I trust this information is useful.


Kind regards,


Area Highways Engineer

South West Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council


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