Just how bad does a hole in the road have to be before the council will repair it? 

That is what residents of Grayswood are asking after a 97-year-old tripped on a ‘patchwork quilt’ of road repairs. 

Mrs Thomas, who preferred not to give her first name, was crossing Lower Road in Grayswood, Haslemere after an art class when a wheel of her walker caught in the multi-repaired road. 

Mrs Thomas fractured her wrist, broke her false teeth and was badly bruised by the fall.

Thankfully her daughter, Nicola Miller, was collecting her from the art class and rushed her to A&E in Guildford, after the Haslemere walk-in clinic said Mrs Thomas would need scans it couldn’t provide.

Nicola said the saddest thing was how the fall had changed her mum. 

“She’s tremendously resilient. This incident hasn’t turned her into a shrinking violet but she’s gone from someone incredibly independent to having carers come in morning and night to help her.”

Nicola contacted Surrey County Council to report the pothole in the hopes a proper repair would be carried out. 

But after coming out to check the site, Surrey Highways and Transport reported “the problem does not need immediate work”.

The badly repaired road where a 97-year-old tripped and badly injured herself in Grayswood
The badly repaired road where a 97-year-old tripped and badly injured herself in Grayswood (Nicola Miller)

“I thought it was astonishing,” said Nicola. 

“Someone has fallen and broken their arm and yet it’s not bad enough? What else needs to happen? 

“I just think it is disgusting and awful that nothing has been done.”

Angela Wheeler, a Grayswood resident who runs the art class Mrs Thomas was attending before the incident, said: “The council may well have saved themselves the cost of another ‘repair’ but the accident caused the otherwise very active Mrs Thomas to fracture her wrist, break her teeth and need to pay for carers to assist her while incapacitated. 

“Would it be too much to ask for one decent repair, rather than the patchwork quilt we have had to put up with for many months?”

New research by Comparethemarket has revealed over a third of Surrey’s roads are in desperate need of improvement, with Surrey ranking 14th when it comes to the places in the UK with the worst roads. 

A Surrey County Council spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear a resident had an issue crossing this part of the road.

“While we’ll continue to fix as many potholes as we can as quickly as we can, it’s important for their own safety that residents remember to use designated crossing points where possible. 

“This particular pothole was reported to us on August 30, 2023, and visited by a highways inspector the following day who concluded the defect did not meet our criteria for needing immediate work.”