‘Our street is plagued by huge potholes so dangerous our kids can’t …

Residents of a North London[1] street have said two groups of large potholes that have blighted their road for “20 years” have caused them to worry for the safety of elderly neighbours, meant children cannot safely play on their bikes, and those in cars and on bicycles have to swerve to dodge them in case of damage or injury. Those living in Dunford Road in the shadow of Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium[2] in Islington[3] say the council has repaired the road in the past, only for the “dangerous” holes to return.

Jackie Langley, 55, who has worked as a dinner lady for 12 years, has lived in the street for 20 years and says the hazardous imperfections have always been there. She said: “It’s absolutely terrible. Cars have to go round [using different streets] to avoid the holes, and when it rains they create massive puddles. To think the Government has got all this money, and they can’t even put a bit of tarmac in.

“Look at the state of it. It’s not good for cars’ suspensions and delivery drivers – traffic does have to swerve around it. And it doesn’t take much for an elderly person to buckle. I’ve been here 20 years and they’ve not been much better, they’ve got worse.”

Ms Langley added that she has been dissatisfied with Islington Council’s repair work over the years, and the standard of the street’s pavements also worry her. She said: “The council has been a few times and dug it up then patched it up again. Then they’ve just filled it in, it’s pointless, it’s not even done anything. I’d understand if there were pipes. Even on the pavements, these trees have been here 50-odd years, and I understand the roots come up and lift them, but the council should invest in fixing the pavements. Older people can’t walk that well, they risk tripping up on bits.”

Ben Kefford standing in Dunford Road in front of a group of potholes
Ben Kefford says the scars on the road present a hazard when on his bicycle

Ben Kefford, 29, a consultant, has lived in the road for eight months since moving to the UK from Australia. He said: “It’s obviously a bit s*****. I ride a bike as well, and it’s actually really bad for my bike. And London is encouraging more bike riding, but there’re no dedicated pathways and the road quality is really bad. And it does look silly, I suppose aesthetically. Everyone comments on it when they come past my house.

“There are a lot of roads where they have cycle paths on it, but they have potholes on them so I’m having to weave out into traffic. I’d come off my bike if I went through it, I’d burst a tyre or something. It’s interesting because I come from Australia where the bike infrastructure is better, we have dedicated pavement for bikes rather than utilising the roads. There are less bike accidents, and the quality of pavements is very smooth. But when you’re cycling over here you’re constantly diving away from potholes and badly done roads.”

Another person living on the street, who preferred not to be identified, said: “It would be nice to have them fixed. It’s got to the point where they’re getting worse and worse. A couple of years ago the council tried to fix them, but it didn’t last very long.” But she caveated her concerns by adding: “You do have to drive over them, but it’s not a main road and it’s not as if there’s potholes the whole way round.”

One of her neighbours, who also asked not to be named, said: “It’s horrible, I’ve got to say. It hasn’t damaged the car but they’re getting deeper and deeper and more annoying, especially when children are riding their bikes. They’re really bad.”

Potholes on Dunford Road filled with water
When it rains, the potholes in Dunford Road become ‘massive puddles’

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that our roads are safe for everyone, and repairing potholes quickly and effectively is at the heart of this. We carry out regular inspections of our roads, during which potholes are repaired.

“The council inspects Dunford Road every six months, with the latest being carried out in October 2022. Three potholes were found during this inspection, which were repaired. The road will be inspected again in the near future, and the council will work to address any potholes as quickly and effectively as possible.”

A photo of the potholes on Dunford Road
Drivers and cyclists have to ‘swerve around’ the potholes, with some using alternative routes to avoid them

This comes after The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, announced in his Spring Budget that the Government plans to spend an extra £200 million on combatting potholes. From April 1, new regulations will also come into force for “a performance-based inspection regime to ensure utility companies resurface roads to the best possible standard after street works, potentially preventing thousands of potholes from developing in the future”.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Potholes not only cause expensive damage to vehicles but are potentially lethal to those on two wheels. Utility companies have a responsibility to ensure roads are properly repaired after carrying out essential maintenance, but unfortunately far too many roads are left in a substandard condition.

“Introducing new regulations to encourage repairs to be done to a higher standard first time around will benefit all road users.”

Is there an issue in your area that you think the council needs to get on top of? Contact [email protected]


  1. ^ North London (www.mylondon.news)
  2. ^ Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium (www.mylondon.news)
  3. ^ Islington (www.mylondon.news)
  4. ^ Residents furious as North London council installs wavy kerbs that make it ‘almost impossible to drive’ (www.mylondon.news)

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