Le Tour Prompts Saffron Walden Pothole Action

Tour De France Prompts Saffron Walden Pothole Crackdown


The town of Saffron Walden in Essex is one place where pedestrians, motorists and bike riders should soon have few fears about potholes - at least on the main road connecting the town to Cambridge.

However, the prime reason for such attention being paid to the issue is not the welfare of local people, but that of elite riders as the third leg of the British phase of the Tour De France passes through the town on July 7th.

Fearing that a pothole might cause a calamity for someone like Chris Froome or Bradley Wiggins, Saffron Walden Shire council has been urging Essex County Council to take action.

Councillor Howard Rolfe told the Cambridge News: "We have received a number of comments about the state of the High Street in Saffron Walden and the turn into George Street.

"Although highways are the responsibility of Essex County Council, we have lobbied for action to be taken."

The county council has agreed to deal with the potholes, although its cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Councillor Ann Naylor, said the work had "already been planned" and had simply been brought forward.

However, the general state of the roads in the town is an issue, Cllr Rolfe noted. He said: "We are also conscious that the general state of the roads in Saffron Walden is poor and whilst most potholes are 'marked up' we will continue to chase the backlog."

This point was supported by Essex County Council member for Saffron Walden John Lodge, who said he gets several complaints a day about potholes and pointed to a recent accident in which a motorcyclist was injured when one of them caused him to come off his bike.

As Saffron Walden seeks to deal with its pothole issues ahead of the tour, other towns in Essex may also take a closer look at the state of their roads before the famous race arrives.

Stage three will see the riders pass through Finchingfield, Braintree and the city of Chelmsford before passing through the Epping Forest on the way into London.

Expert Opinion
While it is very welcome to see action being taken to address the issue of potholes on routes in this area, it is worrying that the decision has only been taken to fast-track the plans in light of the Tour De France imminently passing through the region.

"All road users have a responsibility for safety, but it is equally important that local authorities also play their part by ensuring that routes are properly maintained to reduce the potential risks that all motorists and cyclists may face.

"As we represent people who have been injured in incidents related to potholes, we understand the issue and the consequences that it can have on a huge number of people. It is vital that councils approach this issue seriously and ensure that everything is being done to keep people safe from harm."
Colin Ettinger, Partner