B&B owner takes a stand over potholes

B&B owner takes a stand over potholes

B&B owner takes a stand over potholes

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FRUSTRATED bed and breakfast owner in Marlow Bottom has become so fed up with potholes outside his business he decided to stop paying his council tax.

Paul Simmons, who runs a B&B with his wife Sue on Hill Farm Road, says he has been trying to get the deep holes near his drive fixed for over a year.

And the exasperated resident began his standoff with the council in June by cancelling his direct debit for the monthly payment in protest.

He said: "We have been living here in Marlow for 27 years and I’ve never defaulted on my council tax.

"I know the situation is across the county and it’s a big problem and I understand there are budget constraints.

"It is just so frustrating. We eventually got some people out to look at it but that was months ago. I know I was doing something a little outside of the box but I have been going on about this for years.

"It is right between the road and my driveway, a bad position considering out business as a B&B, and there are no streetlights on our road so I am fearful someone will fall in!

"I am aware there are very big problems elsewhere, but is it not too much to ask to get it sorted?"

Mr Simmons withheld his council tax for June and July, receiving reminders and ultimately a court summons from Wycombe District Council, who act as the collecting authority.

However, it is Bucks County Council which is responsible for fixing the roads, though a large proportion of council tax goes to county hall in Aylesbury.

After informing WDC he would not be paying his tax, Mr Simmons was told he could not be issued with a discount or exemption as "council Tax is a property/personal tax which is due and payable irrespective of the services you use or receive".

Transport for Buckinghamshire confirmed it sent its inspection team to Hill Farm Road in May, but found no serious 'Category 1' potholes.

However, in a victory for the couple, a spokesman for the council's roads department confirmed it will send its Jet Patcher pothole fixing machine to Hill Farm Road early next month.

Mr Simmons said he is now discussing a payment agreement with WDC with the court hearing set for this week.

Comments (4)

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2:48pm Sat 9 Aug 14

spottydotty says...

"I know the situation is across the county and it’s a big problem and I understand there are budget constraints."
...
"I am aware there are very big problems elsewhere, but is it not too much to ask to get it sorted?"

Well - yes, basically. For exactly the reasons you outline yourself. Do you expect the council to wave a magic wand and conjure up money just for you? Withdrawing your own tiny contribution to the pot is hardly logical.
"I know the situation is across the county and it’s a big problem and I understand there are budget constraints." ... "I am aware there are very big problems elsewhere, but is it not too much to ask to get it sorted?" Well - yes, basically. For exactly the reasons you outline yourself. Do you expect the council to wave a magic wand and conjure up money just for you? Withdrawing your own tiny contribution to the pot is hardly logical. spottydotty
  • Score: 0

9:05am Sun 10 Aug 14

Darren Hayday says...

The sensible thing to do would be to get in touch with your BCC Cllr and for him/her to request that the area be Jet patched. Not paying your Council Tax is the silly route to do (although I do understand your frustration) as it will only end in tears and the pot holes will still be there. Cllr Jean Teesdale is your BCC Cllr jteesdale@buckscc.g
ov.uk
The sensible thing to do would be to get in touch with your BCC Cllr and for him/her to request that the area be Jet patched. Not paying your Council Tax is the silly route to do (although I do understand your frustration) as it will only end in tears and the pot holes will still be there. Cllr Jean Teesdale is your BCC Cllr jteesdale@buckscc.g ov.uk Darren Hayday
  • Score: 0

10:44am Sun 10 Aug 14

sundaydriver says...

No Category One Potholes found - idiots!

Every time I go to Wales on holiday or for business the roads are noticeably better, why?

Councils don't have a grip on the budget or spend and when they do sub contract repairs they are never done properly around Wycombe or anywhere in England and Scotland - we should all get 4 x 4's so we don't end up with damaged wheels and tyres. Oh no, but wait!!!!!! the government are hiking up road tax on 4 x 4's and now are looking at taxing diesel more heavily - starts to make sense :(
No Category One Potholes found - idiots! Every time I go to Wales on holiday or for business the roads are noticeably better, why? Councils don't have a grip on the budget or spend and when they do sub contract repairs they are never done properly around Wycombe or anywhere in England and Scotland - we should all get 4 x 4's so we don't end up with damaged wheels and tyres. Oh no, but wait!!!!!! the government are hiking up road tax on 4 x 4's and now are looking at taxing diesel more heavily - starts to make sense :( sundaydriver
  • Score: 3

6:58pm Sun 10 Aug 14

spartacus2014 says...

just a couple of points

I really do sympathise with the B&B owner, those potholes look atrocious. It's funny isn't it that the billions the government raises through road tax are not really spent on the maintenance of the roads - at least not much anyway.

Also, I thought the council had a statutory duty to keep the local roads in a safe condition. Really, claiming they don't have the money to fix them all is a poor excuse, because a local resident has to pay their council tax and they won't accept an excuse from you or I that we are a bit short at them moment and unable to pay our council tax
just a couple of points I really do sympathise with the B&B owner, those potholes look atrocious. It's funny isn't it that the billions the government raises through road tax are not really spent on the maintenance of the roads - at least not much anyway. Also, I thought the council had a statutory duty to keep the local roads in a safe condition. Really, claiming they don't have the money to fix them all is a poor excuse, because a local resident has to pay their council tax and they won't accept an excuse from you or I that we are a bit short at them moment and unable to pay our council tax spartacus2014
  • Score: 5

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