Council tells cyclist to fix potholes himself on 'unusable' cycle path

Oxfordshire County Council says they'll supply £10,000 worth of gravel if cyclist carries out work himself

A cycle path near the Lune River
(Image credit: Suloke Mathai/Flickr)

A cyclist from Oxfordshire has expressed his disbelief after being told by his local council that he would have to do the work himself if he wanted basic maintenance done on a local cycle path.

Chris Waites wrote to Oxfordshire County Council to complain about the state of the cycle path between his home in Long Wittenham and his work in Didcot around two miles away, describing the path as completely overgrown and "one big pothole".

In response, the council said that it had no plans to do any work on the cycle path until 2026, although Mr Waites said that officers offered to pay up to £10,000 for gravel if he was prepared to carry out the work himself.

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"I was told it is not anyone’s job to apply for the grants needed to fix it but if I wanted to do it myself they would pay for the materials," he told the Oxford Mail. "The gravel would be dropped off and I could get to work.

"But it’s not as if it’s the sort of job you can do with a few mates at the weekend. I'd imagine you would need a dumper truck and steam roller at least."

"I know they are pushing the big society these days but it's not just a matter of rolling up your sleeves and getting on with it, this is a serious job."

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According to Department for Transport guidelines, shared use paths such as the one between Long Wittenham and Didcot should be a minimum of three metres in width (although Oxfordshire County Council's own transport strategy states a minimum width of 2.5m), and that paths should be regularly inspected by local authorities with undergrowth cut back and potholes filled in as required.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.