Fury after large pothole led to a man fracturing his skull and suffering bleeding on the brain in an accident on a Harborough estate

He is still recovering from the ordeal - and his MP has joined his fight for action against the developers
Craig Hartwell is still recovering after he accidentally rolled his kids petrol quad bike on top of him in the two-foot wide pothole just feet from his home in Limner Street.Craig Hartwell is still recovering after he accidentally rolled his kids petrol quad bike on top of him in the two-foot wide pothole just feet from his home in Limner Street.
Craig Hartwell is still recovering after he accidentally rolled his kids petrol quad bike on top of him in the two-foot wide pothole just feet from his home in Limner Street.

A shell-shocked dad fractured his skull and suffered bleeding on the brain in a freak quad bike accident caused by a pothole outside his new house in Market Harborough.

Craig Hartwell, 44, is still recovering after he accidentally rolled his kids’ petrol quad bike on top of him in the two-foot wide hole just feet from his home in Limner Street.

And he said the drama came after he and his neighbours have fought for 18 months to have their road on the new Farndon Fields estate properly surfaced and brought up to scratch.

Furious Craig told the Harborough Mail: “I am absolutely outraged by this whole sorry saga.

“It’s obviously bad enough that I was seriously injured in this freakish crash in a huge pothole just outside my new house.

“But it could have been far worse.

“It’s terrifying to think that it could have been one of my kids hurt or a neighbour’s child on their bike.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The software global sales manager added: “We have been fighting with our housebuilder, Avant Homes, for over 18 months now to get our road properly laid out and made good.

“But here we are in late September 2020 still being forced to live in the middle of a building site.

“It’s a total disgrace – Avant Homes should be ashamed of themselves.”

He hit out as Avant Homes insisted they do not legally own the road while fellow housebuilder David Wilson Homes apologised for not “finishing” it off.

Craig said the accident happened as the nation celebrated Victory in Europe (VE) Day on Friday May 8.

“It was just about the first time people had stepped out of their front doors since the lockdown began.

“So we got together with our neighbours, keeping our distance, to enjoy a beer and remember what the wartime generation did for us all that afternoon,” said the dad-of-two.

“I have two children aged 13 and nine and the older one got their quad bike out against my wishes.

“So I sat on the bike and turned it around at just 3mph to put it back.

“But as I did so it fell into this gaping pothole and rolled the bike on top of me.

“As a result I smashed my head off the road.

“This all happened as my horrified wife Rachel, kids and neighbours looked on in shock.

“Some of our neighbours rushed to push the bike off me,” said Craig, who’s ridden and raced motorbikes for 27 years.

“It all seemed to happen in slow motion.

“I was conscious but very dazed and shaken up.

“I’d suffered a heavy graze along the top of my head from the impact.

“I was oozing blood from my head and there was blood all over the road.

“My head was also quickly swelling up.

“It was very embarrassing but I didn’t realise straight away how seriously injured I was.”

His wife Rachel rushed him to Kettering General Hospital’s Accident & Emergency unit for urgent treatment as neighbours looked after their children.

“The medics gave me a CT scan and told me I’d fractured my skull and suffered bleeding on the brain.

“It was all very scary.

“I was kept in hospital for two days.

“It was all so surreal – I couldn’t believe what was happening to me,” said Craig.

“I am on the mend now but it’s taken me months since to start to get back to normal and get over this traumatic accident.

“And it makes me so angry that this could so easily have been avoided.

“Avant Homes have a lot to answer for.

“We forked out £550,000 to buy our brand new detached five-bedroom house here in April 2018.

“We understood and expected that the rough and ready ‘road’ would be given a proper surface and finished off very quickly.

“But two and a half years later it’s as bad as ever.

“Along with my equally incensed neighbours I’ve exchanged so many frustrating emails with officers at Avant – including all the way up to their chief executive – that I’ve lost count.

“And we still haven’t got anywhere.

“All they do is blame other developers and fob us off – it’s left us all thoroughly disgusted and fed-up.

“There were not even street lights here for long enough – it was completely dark,” revealed Craig.

“There are no drains here and we get flash floods.

“Avant Homes have taken zero ownership of our street and our road.

“They are happy to pocket our hard-earned money for their properties.

“But when it comes to accepting responsibility for building and maintaining the road right outside our front doors they are nowhere to be seen.

“If they had come out and repaired that pothole I wouldn’t have had the accident, I wouldn’t have ended up in A&E, I wouldn’t have been terribly injured.

“It’s that simple.”

He said he and his wife Rachel have “certainly had regrets” since shelling out over half a million pounds for their new home on the Farndon Fields estate.

Craig said: “We have a fantastic community spirit here and I want to thank our neighbours for their incredible friendship and support.

“But Avant Homes have seriously under-delivered."

Harborough MP Neil O’Brien, who has a special interest in housebuilding and development, told the Mail: “This sort of thing drives people mad – it’s hit and run development.

“This is simply not good enough.”

Neil added: “The whole way that developments work all over the country is totally unsatisfactory.

“Things are done back to front.

“Developers cannot go on just passing the buck to one another.

“I will talk to Craig and put a rocket up the housebuilders to try to get some immediate action.”

Cllr Paul Bremner, the local county councillor, said: “I’m shocked to be told of Craig’s accident and what’s happened here.

“I’ll talk to both Harborough council and the county council to see what we can do here to improve the situation.”

An Avant Homes Midlands spokeswoman told the Mail: “Avant Homes is not the legal owner of the road on Limner Street at Foxton Place, so we have been liaising directly with the developer that is to establish how the situation can be resolved.

“This has resulted in a plan of remedial works being agreed which will address the road surface on Limner Street.

“These works have been arranged by the road’s owner and will commence during the first two weeks of October.”

A spokesman for David Wilson Homes East Midlands, another major developer on Farndon Fields, said: “We are sorry for the delay in finishing the road at Limner Street.

“Now the preparatory works have been finished by our fellow developers at Farndon Fields, we can complete the final surfacing of the road.

“In the meantime all of the potholes will be repaired over the next two days and a meeting has been scheduled with all parties involved to discuss the urgent timing of the resurfacing works.”