Urgent call to repair road surface on Bristol street recently named the ‘greatest in the UK’

The street is diverse, popular and full of delight - but not great for potholes

People on a Bristol street recently named the best in the UK and Ireland have become so fed up with a lack of road investment they have coloured in potholes to highlight the issue.

It is claimed there are around 90 defects to St Marks Road in Easton, and that Bristol City Council has not carried out sufficient repairs for 30 years - although the city council claims repairs were done in 2010.

In response, St Marks Road community group used spray chalk to paint bright red hearts in the potholes as part of its recent Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. And now a petition has been launched, sprearheaded by Abdul Malik, co-owner of Pak Butchers on the road.

And it might be working already. In a statement to BristolWorld, the city council said it was working up an improvement scheme for the road, adding that discussions would start with the community in the summer - which is news to Mr Malik.

The complaints over the road surface and anger over a lack of investment highlight a run-in between the community and city council.

Back in 2019, the council secured £60,000 to improve the road and initially proposed pedestrianisation of the street. But when the community rejected the idea, an alternative scheme could not be agreed on. Later, it was revealed that the funding from Government had gone.

Potholes in St Marks Road have been spray painted to highlight the issue

As part of the work, a survey carried out saw dozens of complaints about the quality of road surface.

Yet almost two years on, nothing has been done to improve the road, which Mr Malik said was causing a danger to users.

Speaking to BristolWorld, Mr Malik, who is also chair of Easton Jamia Mosque, said: “No money has been spent on fixing the potholes or the street furniture in St Marks Road for years - and now we’ve got an unsafe road and a cycle lane not clearly marked.

Cyclists have to swerve around the holes into the paths of cars and pedestrians.

The spray painted pot holes were done for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

“This really isn’t good enough for a High Street voted the best in the UK. If we are a beacon of hope and diversity, our road should be cherished and looked after, not left without any investment.”

The petition on the council website was launched on June 6, and as so far been signed by more than 50 people.

Mr Malik added: “Just because we have an active community with ideas, and couldn’t agree on pedestrianisation or an alternative scheme, we lost council investment. That money should still be available to use while a scheme is being drawn up.”

St Marks Road is lined with shops, restaurants and community facilities. It was named the best High Street in the UK and Ireland at the 2020 Urbanism Awards.

It is also home to the annual Grand Iftar street party, an event which marks the end of Ramadan.

Abdul Malik (right) is co-owner of Pak Butchers on St Marks Road

When BristolWorld put the petition to Bristol City Council, a spokesperson said discussions were set to start with the community again in the summer over improving St Marks Road.

They said: “This scheme needs detailed design and then build out. Proposals for the project are currently being considered but they are at an early stage and will require detailed conversations with the community to ensure the designs fit the local needs.

“It is vital that any project further enhances the diversity and vibrance of St Marks Road which was celebrated when it was awarded best high street in the UK in 2019/20.

“We hope to start having these discussions again in the summer.”