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Residents’ road repairs are pot-hole lot of fun
8:00am Wednesday 18th June 2014 in News
ONCE every 18 months, the residents of Poplar Road, Botley, fill in their potholes.
Their street is unadopted by Oxfordshire County Council, meaning that they have no reposnibility for it, so homeowners have to look after it.
On Saturday, in what has become a local tradition, some 17 homeowners from the 30-house street brought out their wheelbarrows and spades and set to work.
Sand and gravel aggregate is poured into the holes and then the residents rent a roller to flatten it out – a total cost of about £1,000 a time.
Compared to the six-figure sum it would cost to resurface the whole street, it is a drop in the ocean.
Resident John McKay, 50, a porter at Exeter College, says community ownership brings the street together.
He said: “It’s not up to road standard, but it’s pretty flat, and quite safe.
“It certainly wouldn’t work for the whole city – we have a good community spirit which is kind of unique.
“Occasions like that when we all get together, I can’t see another road doing that.
“Other roads might have a party for the Queen’s Jubilee, but this is full-time.”
Residents buy their own grit bins, but Vale of White Horse District Council collects the rubbish.
The street holds fundraising events throughout the year to pay for the road – a street party, a plant sale and barbecue.
Each house also contributes £25 a year towards the cost of public liability insurance.
So the system works well – until something goes wrong.
Mr McKay, who has lived in the road for five years, said: “If the main sewer went, that would be a huge expense.”
For that reason alone – the difficulty of digging up the entire road to search for a fault in the sewers – he would not recommend the scheme.
When the residents attempted to get Oxfordshire County Council to adopt the road some years ago, the council declined the offer, saying the road would need work on it to bring it up to county standard. David Kay, who has lived in the road since 1989, said: “Everyone who moves into the road knows there is something funny about it because it’s not got Tarmac on it.
“It is actually quite nice filling it in every now and then.
“It works for us.”
Potholes on authority-owned roads cost Oxfordshire County Council about £5million a year.
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