SHAMBOLIC, tardy and totally inadequate - that is the reaction of a Marlow business owner to the county council’s response after he reported a deep hole in the High Street pavement which was not fixed for over a week.

Brian Murphy, who runs Pulsar Developments in Dukes Place, informed Marlow Town Council of a missing manhole cover after he spotted it last Monday, April 14.

After the town council passed the issue to Bucks County Council, its response crews visited the area - outside Simmons and Lawrence at the top of Marlow High Street - and put a cone over the 40cm-deep hole.

And Mr Murphy has criticised the delay in fixing the hole after it emerged the manhole was the responsibility of Thames Water, which was not informed by the county council until over a week later.

He said: "My concern is citizen safety which with regard to this hole is pretty well proven to be invisible.

"I would call the response incompetent, tardy, totally inadequate in view of the public risk - in brief shambolic.

"An army corporal would have sorted this in 24 hours, maybe even 12, and is paid a lot less than senior councillors.

"I would have reported this direct to the relevant utility but it's not clear who it is to me as there is no marking on remaining rim of the hole.

"A loose cone can easily be displaced by pedestrians etc. leaving the hole exposed. What concerns me is that this large hole has the real potential to cause life changing injuries to a citizen and secondly result in a very significant claim for damages on those responsible for the hazard."

Transport for Bucks insists it sent crews to the scene within the required two-hour window but admitted that Thames Water were not told until over a week later - and after the BFP alerted the water utility.

TfB Spokesman Dan Elworthy said: "The missing cover in the footway in Marlow High Street was reported to Transport for Buckinghamshire on Monday, April 14. As is our statutory requirement, the defect was made safe within two hours of receiving the report.

"The site has been inspected today (Tuesday April 22), within our agreed timeframe, to make sure it remains safe and details of the defect have been reported to Thames Water to facilitate the permanent repair."

When contacted by the MFP on Tuesday, Thames Water confirmed it had not been told about the missing manhole cover and made an interim repair within hours of being called.

Thames Water spokesman Becky Trotman said: "Until we were contacted by the Bucks Free Press this morning (Tuesday) about the missing manhole cover we were not aware of the issue.

"We have now arranged for one our team to visit the High Street today (Tuesday) with a view to replacing it."


- A MECHANIC discovered another dangerous hole this week after returning from a weekend away to find someone had stolen a large metal drain cover near his Marlow home.

Steve Carlton came back to find a gaping chasm in the road outside his house on Seymour Court Road, with neighbours telling him the heavy metal grate had been stolen over the bank holiday weekend.

And as well as contacting Bucks County Council to fix the problem, the diligent car mechanic placed bollards around the danger area to prevent a possible disaster.

He said: "I came home and sae the hole just outside my house, someone must have taken it to make money out of it as scrap metal.

"They do not just disappear on their own, it has been removed from the road. It must have been put into a vehicle because they are very heavy.

"I put two bollards around as I’m concerned about people’s safety, as you could actually put both feet down it and fit down the hole if you fell in it.

"The next bicycle that came along could go down the hole or a car could jump up on to the kerb if it hit it, it's very dangerous."

After Mr Carlton contacted Bucks County Council, the repair job was put on the authority’s 24-hour emergency response list.