Wiltshire Council has “A complete disregard for the residents of Devizes,” says Guardian Jonathan Hunter

You’ve got to award Gazette & Herald reporter Jason Hughes the journalism medal of bravery this week, for his dissemination on head of the Devizes Guardians, Jonathan Hunter’s mien concerning the tardiness of communication by Wiltshire Council over the current state of our roads!

The headline read “Devizes potholes cause misery for motorists, councillor claims.” Claims? Wha?! Does this guy get to go outside at playtime?! Has he seen the state of it out there? It’s like a lunar landscape after a flipping meteor shower! When Jules Verne wrote Journey to the Centre of the Earth, fittingly about volcanic tubes that reach the centre of the earth, he was inspired by Wiltshire’s roads; fact!

Honestly, honesty is a must here, let’s not get impassive on this breaking scoop; we all know the truth, we’ve known for some time, and hats off to town councillor Jonathan Hunter for digging the claws in.

“A road repairs promise was made two years ago,” he explained, “last week I wrote to Cllr Caroline Thomas on behalf of the residents of Devizes who face the reality of an appalling local road network. Cllr Thomas, has given a statement through the press but after a week I’m still waiting for a reply to my email, which apart from being unprofessional and rude, it signals that the cabinet members approach is not community first and shows a complete disregard for the residents of Devizes.”

I responded, “probably because she owns a Chelsea tractor,” with a little emoji of a tractor in hope to cheer him up! What can I say? I was under pressure and it was the best I could come up with at the time. But what can we do about it? Here’s Jonathan’s top four tips, which makes a terrible headline, because people love “top ten tips,” five, perhaps, Jonathan, but not four, no. Still, they’re good ones.

1. Continue to bombard WC using MyWilts the app, to report potholes. Whilst this system is very reactive it’s the best that they can offer.

2. Write to Cllr Thomas and share your concerns, I can’t guarantee that she will read or even reply but the more residents that express their concerns may make a difference. caroline.thomas@wiltshire.gov.uk

3. Please identify hazardous areas to your friends, neighbours or colleagues who are vulnerable. In particular, those with mobility difficulties.

4. At the 2025 Wiltshire Council unitary election remember the promises that were made in 2021 and the reality of how those promises have been implemented across your local road network.

“There are three areas of key concern in Devizes,” Jonathan told the Gazette, “London Road is the main road coming in and out and that isn’t great at all. Bath Road and also Windsor Drive, which is an interconnecting road, the surface degradation on those roads is really poor.” And continued to express his concern for damaged pavements reducing the accessibility and safety for vulnerable pedestrians.

After such, the article does give this press reply by Cllr Thomas, which goes thus: “The hot, dry summer of last year, and the very wet and very cold weather so far this winter has unfortunately created the perfect conditions for potholes to form across the 2,500-mile road network. We’re doing all we can to repair them, using all our skilled workforce and resources, with the priority being to make the road safe.”

Now, I did rant on this subject at the beginning of February, quoting Cabinet Member for Transport, Dr Mark McClelland’s axiomatic piffle direct from the council’s website, so let’s have a little game of spot the difference here: “The weather has provided the perfect conditions for potholes to form, and that’s why we’re seeing an increase in the number of road defects throughout the county.”

Uncanny, huh?! At least they’re singing off the same song sheet I suppose. Probably written on the wall at county hall, “just reword this weather-blaming twaddle if the press asks!”

Well, please accept my apologises, but I’m not the press, just the milky, the milky inspired by Stephen Mulhern of Catchphrase to “say what I see,” and with a tendency to do precisely that; it’s an abomination which so obviously could have been avoided with ongoing proactive maintenance, even Mr Chips can see it, and he’s a fictional yellow bollard with a clown’s nose, naked other than a cravat.

“The roads are very dangerous for all users,” Jonathan expressed his concern, “pothole repairs should just be an emergency fix to prevent a serious accident, they are not a permanent solution as the substance shrinks within the original road defect. Unfortunately, it would seem WC have adopted pothole repairs as their main strategy to improve crumbling roads with surface degradation. The lack of engagement is a poor show and speaks volumes.”


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