Victory as the Upper Mall potholes are filled in

uppermallpothole1The pedestrians and cyclists of Hammersmith are less likely to end up in A&E on Christmas Day after the Council filled in potholes on Upper Mall. This is part of the very popular route along the River.

Last month one resident wrote to me to say:

“Approaching Dove Passage, outside Kelmscott House, I swerved to the left to avoid an oncoming cyclist, clipping the edge of what appeared to be a puddle.  It was not.  It was an enormous pothole, well known to us residents, but not instantly recognisable because of being full of water.  I was thrown off my bike onto my elbow, which broke upon impact.  I need hardly say that it was extremely painful.  I have had the inconvenience of being in hospital for several days, and am now likely to be off work for two weeks or more.  This will affect my earnings.”

For those interested here is some of the recent correspondence on the resulting saga:


uppermallpothole2Thanks for getting in touch. I knew this was a private road but I’ve heard differing views as to who is responsible/what agreements are in place to maintain etc.

I agree that some maintenance is becoming urgent now and will get this sorted before any of our residents are injured.


Councillor Wesley Harcourt
Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Residents Services
LB Hammersmith & Fulham
King Street
W6 9JU

Thanks, Ian.

Upper Mall is an oddity as it is legally a private road although in practice it is a public road. I can see that this is makes for a bureaucratic muddle – and it would be good to resolve the matter in the long term if a solution can be devised.
However this leaves us with the urgent short term problem that the road is dangerous due to the severe potholes – pictures attached.
Previously the Council has taken a common sense approach of providing basic road maintenance. While this wasn’t a legal requirement discretion was exercised to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists rather than a “jobsworth” approach.
Please would you instruct officers to fill the potholes in Upper Mall as soon as possible – in line with previous arrangements.
Have a good Christmas!

Best wishes,




Well done Cllr Harcourt

Well done Cllr Harcourt

Dear Cllr Phibbs

This is a complex matter and I am seeking advice from the Director for Law. Essentially I believe we do not have the authority to carry out maintenance work on a private road using public funds. There is also the logistic challenge of undertaking the work as we do not have the powers to close the road or to remove any cars parked in the street to enable us to do the work.

It appears that in the past, the previous Director for Highways arranged for minor reinstatement of potholes to be done but this is neither cost effective nor a long-term solution. There is also the question of liability since in carrying out the work, the Council becomes liable for personal injury on a private road.

I shall reply fully once I have received advice from the legal department.

Please note I have not copied in residents into my email because I would rather wait for the legal advice before giving a full response.



Ian Hawthorn
Head of Highway Maintenance and Projects

So well done Cllr Harcourt.

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