It is now more than a month that the C1039 road outside Kingsland has been closed due to the appearance of a small sink-hole on its verge.

Locals had been aware of this minor hazard for many months before it attracted official notice, but since the lane at that point is not conducive to high speeds had accepted its existence as just another of the countless potholes that characterise Herefordshire’s roads.

It was a shock therefore when the council peremptorily closed the road on health and safety grounds without providing any timeframe for its reopening.

Many locals, irritated by this clumsy over-reaction, chose initially to circumvent the barriers, having conducted an ad hoc risk assessment and factored in the harm that a kerbside hole could possibly do to a car moving at walking pace along an empty lane.

Piqued by this rebellious response, the council has now erected heavy-duty fencing, forcing drivers to waste fuel and time on lengthy diversions en route to school, doctor or local shops.

A date for re-opening has still not been announced and rumour has it that it will be at least six months away.

A further bizarre twist is that a badger sett has now been found adjacent to the pothole and, since badgers are a protected species, its residents will have to rehomed before works commence.

While this may come as welcome news to badger lovers, such concerns fit oddly with Herefordshire also being a badger-cull area in which the same animals are being slaughtered by government diktat.

So, while the council ponders on this legal dilemma it is to be hoped that common sense may now kick in.

With some hazard warnings, speed restrictions, maybe even traffic lights, this short but vital stretch of road can surely be reopened to drivers willing to accept responsibility for a daredevil crawl past Kingsland’s notorious black hole.

Hamish Scott

EDITOR'S NOTE: The road has re-opened since this letter was submitted