Driving instructor backs campaign

A DRIVING instructor who has been teaching students how to drive for 24 years says he has never seen the roads in such a bad condition.

CLICK ON THE LINK (right) TO ADD YOUR POT

David Rennie, who runs the Hart Station School of Motoring, spends all day driving around Hartlepool and he has hit out at the sheer volume of potholes blighting the roads.

The 59-year-old has also given his backing to the Mail’s Plot the Pots campaign, which was relaunched after town roads were left in an “atrocious” state after the latest winter freeze saw a huge rise in the number of potholes.

He said: “I have been teaching students how to drive in this town for the past 24 years and I have never seen the roads in such an atrocious condition.

“I blew a tyre because of a pothole at Christmas and one the year before too, so I know to my cost how expensive they can be.

“They are almost impossible to miss in the dark and there is not the odd one, some of the streets in town have 20 or 30 potholes.

“It must be particularly bad for motorbike riders who must fear for their lives. Catcote Road, Warren Road and Winterbottom Avenue are particularly bad.

“This has been coming for a number of years because the roads have been patched up instead of being totally resurfaced.”

Road chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council have pledged to send inspectors to assess more than a dozen reports of potholed streets that have been put forward by Mail readers.

The reports were sent in as part of the Mail’s updated Plot the Pots campaign which is urging readers to let us know where road repairs need to be carried out.

New figures reveal that the council paid out almost £4,500 in compensation on 23 successful claims over a two year period, as previously reported by the Mail.

Between January 2009 and December 31, last year, the council received 60 claims in relation to vehicle damage from potholes and paid out on 23.

Mr Rennie, a dad-of-two from the Hart Station area of town, added: “I welcome the Mail campaign encouraging people to pot the potholes as any publicity to highlight the problem is welcome.”

The council will spend around £300,000 this year on repairs, which does not include the £1m that is spent in the town on resurfacing complete stretches of roads.

Potholes are caused when water gets into cracks in the surface of roads, before it freezes and expands, causing surfaces to crumble away when they are driven over.

Council bosses say the ideal situation would see entire roads resurfaced instead of just patching repairs. But it would cost around £20m and the Government does not provide that much funding for road schemes.

People can report potholes to the council by calling (01429) 523333 or by clicking the EXTERNAL LINK: Plot the Pots in the column right.