Great Barton man Robert Hale to trade in car after pot holes cost him almost £2,500
A Great Barton man has said his car has become ‘no match’ for Suffolk’s potholes after he was forced to shell out almost £2,500 on repairs.
Robert Hale, who has owned his BMW 5 Series Tourer for 10 years, has had to replace nine tyres and one wheel since 2016 after he hit various potholes in and around Bury St Edmunds.
The most recent incident happened on November 26 on a slip road near Rougham Hall Nurseries while Robert was driving to a charity event at St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury.
“I hit a pothole and knew instinctively that there was damage to the tyre,” he said.
“To replace a tyre costs around £250 and it just seems crazy to me to have to put out that kind of money on a new tyre when I’m going to support a charity that would benefit from such an amount.
“It’s difficult at Christmas time but it’s bad at any time of year. No-one has that kind of money to waste every time they drive anywhere.”
This comes one month after the car failed an MoT due to, according to Mr Hale, wheels being knocked out of alignment by potholes – damage which cost £923 to fix. He is now looking to get another car which would be less expensive to repair.
“I can’t afford to drive it anymore. I need to trade it in for something I can drive after dark without the fear of causing hundreds of pounds of damage to it,” he said. “It’s a lovely car and I like to drive it but it’s just not feasible any longer.”
He added: “I would find it hard to believe that there are not a lot of drivers, especially but not restricted to those with low profile tyres, that are not spending large amounts of money on wheels and tyres.
“My car is absolutely no match for many of the roads in and around where I live in Great Barton and the dozens of potholes I see every day.”
Mr Hale said the problem is ‘not getting better’ despite him having reported each of the incidents.
He added that new houses due to be built in the area would make the situation worse if road infrastructure is not also improved.
"That means too many cars, buses, farm machinery vehicles and lorries on narrow roads where buses, farm machinery and lorries worsen our pothole problem every day as unlike cars they have not got the room to avoid them and so hit them and make them worse and worse by deepening them," he said.
He called on a new government to address questions such as whether the roads are fit for purpose, why repairs haven't been carried out during the summer and what the real cost is to tax payers.
"A new tyre on my vehicle costs more than my funding 10 meals for the charity 'Crisis at Christmas'," he said."As someone who tries to help out with fund raising in our community where do you think I would rather spend my money at this time of year?"
A Highways England spokesman said a ‘comprehensive maintenance and renewals programme’ is in place to prevent potholes occurring on major roads and motorways. He added that potholes are repaired ‘as soon as possible’ with those which pose a risk to safety being repaired within 24 hours.
“Safety is our top priority, and on major routes like the A14 we carry out a rolling programme of inspections every week to maintain our roads in a safe condition while causing minimal disruption for drivers,” he said.
More by this authorRhoda Morrison