Is this Harrogate’s worst potholed street? Leafy Alexandra Road, which has six B&Bs and guesthouses, is populated with some as deep as four inches - and residents say it is an issue that is generating complaints from visitors on a daily basis.
Its proximity to Harrogate Convention Centre and other prominent visitor destinations has raised concerns that tourists are left with a less than favourable first impression of Harrogate, having to navigate what residents have described as a series of ‘crater-like’ potholes.
With the arrival of the UCI Road World Championships just around the corner, this same group of residents fear that the street will fall by the wayside and not be a priority compared to roads sitting on the route of the cycling race itself that are being resurfaced.
And yet, the B&B owners are gearing up to welcome hundreds of guests from across the globe for the event, and do not want potholes to be the first thing that they are greeted with.
Although the UCI is a short term event, residents said the extent of the problem is so great that an all year round, long term solution is needed, for the sake of both visitors and residents.
It’s not just holidaymakers that the potholes are creating problems for - those who live on the street and nearby have spoken to the Harrogate Advertiser about the ‘nightmare’ they encounter every day when they venture out then come back.
Richard Caven said he has had to have two rear springs of his car replaced over the last 18 months due to the condition of the road. He said: “It’s unbelievable, it shows a total lack of TLC. We have got a beautiful town here in Harrogate, and it all looks nice on the front cover, but when you open the book, you see the cracks.
“These potholes are like craters, you have to go extremely slow through them, you can’t go around them. They are not good for the undercarriage or suspension.
“I understand that events like the UCI and Tour de France are obviously good for the Dales and the area as a whole, and that the roads need to be ready to cope with them, but it’s also important to look after the residents and make sure that their streets are good enough and up to standard.”
Phil Standen, who runs the Acorn Lodge guesthouse on nearby Studley Road with his wife Ali, said: “We hear comments from our guests on a daily basis about how bad the road is when they stay. From my point of view, it’s damaging.
“It’s what they see first, it’s their first impression when they stay in Harrogate. It’s important that these roads don’t get forgotten about.” Last year, residents produced a petition to lobby North Yorkshire County Council to get the potholes fixed, which attracted more than 80 signatures. Jonathan Daniel, who has been liaising with the council to try and get the issue resolved, said: “This is one of the nicest streets in Harrogate, it’s tree-lined, and yet one of the first things visitors say is, ‘look at the state of that,’ when they arrive to see these potholes.
“There is almost a joke to be had here - if we managed to get the UCI coming down here, it would probably be done straight away.”
Phillip Knight, who has lived on the street for nine years, said “It’s almost got to the point of no return.”
He said: “This can’t just be patched up, something needs to be done to get rid of the problem in the long term. The houses are nice, the area is nice, but the road is an absolute disgrace. Something has to be done, it’s not good enough.”
Fed up residents who live around Alexandra Road, including Phil Standed, above left, and Jonathan Daniel, above right, are calling for action to fix their potholed road. Pictures: Gerard Binks.
‘This is one of the nicest streets in Harrogate and one of the first things visitors say is ‘look at the state of that’ when they arrive to see these potholes’
‘Not an immediate safety hazard’ - Council’s response to complaints
North Yorkshire County Council has issued a statement responding to the raft of concerns raised by residents.
The council’s area highways manager, Melisa Burnham, said: “We are aware of the condition of Alexandra Road and action is planned. The road is not an immediate safety hazard, but we are monitoring the area and any defects that require attention for safety reasons will be addressed immediately.
Capital projects have been brought forward or delayed to match conditions and the resources available. We are not repairing any roads that did not or would not require work in the next five years.”
The council added that it has had to prioritise a package of works across the district on routes where the demand is greatest, and the impact highest.
The statement said: “The award of £1.6m, part of funding from the Department for Transport, in March gave us with an opportunity to prioritise a package of works across the district on routes where the demand is greatest and the impact highest.
"Alongside this programme of resurfacing work, we are completing our surface dressing programme, which has treated more than 150 sites, including rural routes and housing estates.
“In the last two years, we have funded improvements on Skipton Road, Otley Road, Ripon Road, Wetherby Road, Boroughbridge Road and the A59 at Bond End. We have done this alongside maintenance of smaller estate roads.”