Man fed up with up ‘disgraceful’ potholes turns road into ‘crazy golf course’ to get council to act
The teenager set up the course using traffic cones in a bid to get the council’s attention
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Ben Thornbury, 18, of Malmesbury, swung into action after realising how much the state of the roads in the local high street was affecting residents - so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
The 18-year-old set up a “crazy pothole golf” course on the street in the hope that a bit of humour would grab the attention of the council, and prompt them into action.
Using supplies he already had from his volunteering work, Ben set up the course using mini traffic cones and mocked up a sign which welcomes golfers with the message: “Wiltshire Council, you’re a disgrace. Fix the potholes. High street crazy potholes golf now open”.
After posting about his idea on Facebook, people soon started turning up to play on the makeshift course when he launched it last week (7 April).
He says more than 20 residents turned up to have a go and he hopes it will force the council to do something about improve the conditons of the road.
Ben said: “I’m really proud it was my idea. People were playing crazy golf in the middle of the high street while all the cars were coming past. Probably more than 20 people turned up - for a small town that’s very good.
“A family had just come into town for the day, they rocked up in the middle of the road and started playing golf with us. It’s just been such a rewarding feeling and people have been messaging me saying, ‘You’ve done it again for the community’.”
Ben enjoys spending his free time volunteering for projects in his local area, including taking on tasks like cleaning the streets and trimming overgrown hedges, and now the troublesome potholes which he says have been “a massive issue for months”.
He explained: “Residents have been complaining on Facebook saying all the roads and the high street is full of them. We’ve been reporting it and had no response from the council and now people are getting fed up that nothing is being done about it.
“With my community work, I had some signs I wasn’t using - I mocked up a design on my phone for a road sign saying ‘crazy pothole golf’ and that’s how it all came about.
“People thought it was a brill idea and were saying it was about time someone did something about it to raise awareness. The council might not respond to a letter, but I hoped using a bit of humour would get their attention straight away.”
Cllr Caroline Thomas, cabinet member for transport at Wiltshire Council, said there have been numerous potholes across the country “not just in Wiltshire”, thanks to changeable weather conditions and fresh funding from the government will be used to tackle the problem.
She said: “The combination of a long dry summer followed by periods of very wet and then freezing conditions, has seen road surfaces deteriorate, in some cases very quickly.
“Malmesbury High Street is, unfortunately, an example of this. It was surveyed in 2022 and found to be sound but reports from residents and businesses this year, and a site visit this week, illustrate the rapidly deteriorating conditions.
“We have recently been awarded an additional £3.6m from the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) Pothole Fund. The extra funding will support the hard work undertaken this winter to tackle the huge increase in potholes across the county.
“In January, we saw a four-fold increase in pothole reports compared with December and over the 2022/23 financial year we spent 50% more on repairs than budgeted, based on past experience.
“We would advise anyone concerned about highway defects and potholes to report them to us using MyWilts – either through our website or by using the smartphone app.”