Victims of ‘vicious’ pothole

Joseph Bulmer

A POTHOLE in a Bideford road, highlighted by a local councillor as dangerous and pictured in the Gazette last week, claimed two victims before workmen arrived on Saturday to fill it in.

The fears of district and town councillor Brian Lacey about potholes in Gammaton Road and Cliveden Road were featured last week. Mr Lacey complained that both he and his son had been contacting Devon County Council for two weeks, without action.

Last Wednesday night two women drivers fell victim to the same pothole in Gammaton Road where Mr Lacey and his son Steven had been pictured.

Both suffered damaged to their cars.

On Saturday county council workmen filled in potholes and patched the road surface in Gammaton Road which had been badly damaged by the winter weather.

Teresa Pike of East-the-Water was on her way home with three children in the back of her car around 9.15pm last Wednesday night when she struck the pothole less than 100 yards from her home in Goaman Road.

The impact burst two tyres and damaged the wheels on the nearside of her car.

Teresa is concerned that there could be other damage to the underside of the vehicle and is awaiting an official assessment. She said that she had also hurt her neck and been frightened by the incident.

“I had my son and daughter in the back and one of their friends. I don’t like to drive fast, especially with the kids, and was doing less than 30mph,” she said. “There was a huge bang and the car juddered out of control. It was lucky there was nothing coming the other way. My seven-year-old daughter was screaming.

“The pothole is right beside a large metal manhole cover and you can see where the exposed edge of the manhole went into the tyres,” she said.

Retired nurse Mary Moore from Northam said she, too, had fallen victim to the Gammaton Road pothole on Wednesday night.

She told the Gazette she had gone there to pick up a friend. She was not familiar with the road and it was dimly lit, she said.

“I wondered whatever had happened. It went off like a bomb. The impact punctured my tyre, broke the trim in pieces and bent the wheel itself. I don’t know what would have happened if I had been driving faster.”

She thanked the ‘young Samaritan’ in a white hoody who had helped her. “He used his mobile phone as a torch and when they could not get the car up high enough with my jack, he phoned his father, who turned up with a larger jack to help change the wheel,” she said.

Cllr Lacey told the Gazette: “This was just what I feared would happen. This pothole was vicious, like a trap.”

It was not only motorists. He had spoken with a man who had fallen into the pothole and twisted his ankle while trying to stop his granddaughter going into the road, said Mr Lacey.

He had had many comments and had told people they should also complain to the county, he said. Now he was thankful that work had been carried out and thanked everyone who had played their part.

A Devon County Council spokesman said: “We are working hard to keep our roads as safe as possible and 200,000 potholes were repaired in 2010 following damage caused by the severe weather of recent winters. We regularly inspect our 8,000 mile network, which is the biggest highway network of any authority in the country, and these repairs are carried out within a reasonable time of the Council being made aware of them. It is Devon County Council’s policy to investigate claims, but compensation can only be offered where there is evidence that the council may be held at fault in law.”

To report a pothole go to or call 0845 155 1004.