Teenager sets up crazy golf course using potholes to ‘make a point’ to council
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A teenager who thinks his town’s roads are so below par, he decided to make a point - by using potholes to make a crazy golf course. Ben Thornbury, 18, swung into action after reading about locals’ frustrations on Facebook.
The student mocked up a sign and opened the course in the middle of market town Malmesbury, Wiltshire last week. He said more than 20 residents turned up to have a go - and he hopes it will force the authorities to take action.
Ben said: "I’m really proud it was my idea. People were playing crazy golf in the middle of the high street while all the cars were coming past.
“Probably more than 20 people turned up - for a small town that’s very good. A family had just come into town for the day, they rocked up in the middle of the road and started playing golf with us.
“It’s just been such a rewarding feeling and people have been messaging me saying, ‘You’ve done it again for the community’."
Ben, from Malmesbury, Wiltshire enjoys spending his free time volunteering for projects in his local area, taking on tasks like cleaning the streets and trimming overgrown hedges. So, when he realised how much the potholes in the town were affecting residents, he decided to turn his hand to protesting.
Using supplies he already had from his volunteering work, he created a sign reading ‘High Street Crazy Potholes Golf Now Open” and set up the course using mini traffic cones.
He posted about his idea on Facebook and as the likes started rolling in, locals started turning up. Ben said: “The potholes in town have been a massive issue for months now.
"Residents have been complaining on Facebook saying all the roads and the high street is full of them. We’ve been reporting it and had no response from the council and now people are getting fed up that nothing is being done about it.
“With my community work, I had some signs I wasn’t using - I mocked up a design on my phone for a road sign saying ‘crazy pothole golf’ and that’s how it all came about.
“People thought it was a brill idea and were saying it was about time someone did something about it to raise awareness.
“The council might not respond to a letter, but I hoped using a bit of humour would get their attention straight away.”
Cllr Caroline Thomas, cabinet member for transport at Wiltshire Council, said: “There has been an increase in the number of potholes across the country, not just in Wiltshire.
"The combination of a long dry summer followed by periods of very wet and then freezing conditions, has seen road surfaces deteriorate, in some cases very quickly.
"Malmesbury High Street is, unfortunately, an example of this. It was surveyed in 2022 and found to be sound but reports from residents and businesses this year, and a site visit this week, illustrate the rapidly deteriorating conditions.
“We have recently been awarded an additional £3.6m from the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) Pothole Fund. The extra funding will support the hard work undertaken this winter to tackle the huge increase in potholes across the county.
“We would advise anyone concerned about highway defects and potholes to report them to us using MyWilts – either through our website or by using the smartphone app.”