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£90k spent to fix pothole problems
8:00pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
SWINDON Council spent nearly £90,000 in pothole repairs last year in an attempt to keep the rising number of damaged roads under control.
Their efforts minimised the amount paid out in compensation to drivers who had their cars damaged by cracked roads over the same period, which amounted to £1,402.80 spread across 14 separate claims.
Compared to figures released last month of £23,000 being paid out in compensation to drivers over the last three years, it suggests progress is being made in reducing the amount paid in liability claims.
But claiming compensation from the council can only go ahead if there can be a direct link proven between the damaged car and a specific road, leading to concerns the number of cars affected by potholes could be much higher.
In the period between August 1, 2012 to July 31, 2013, the council relieved 742 reports of potholes from around the town.
Over the same year, 1,845 repairs were carried out by resurfacing teams, at a cost to the council of £88,400, amounting to £47.91 per repair.
Earlier this year figures obtained by Coun Jim Grant, the Labour group leader, and reported in the Adver showed the amount spent on fixing potholes increased from £7,404 in 2008/09 to around £77,535.22 in the year up to May 2012/13.
The news comes before councillors were due to bring a motion before the full council meeting last night to allocate funds from the New Homes Bonus to resurface more of Swindon’s roads, due to changing conditions in weather.
The motion, by Coun Julian Price, (Covingham and Dorcan), argued these conditions were increasing the number of potholes in the town, and more resources would be required to carry out resurfacing in the future.
Coun Price. who disputes the figures, said: “It’s important to stress that there has to be a very clear link with a specific pothole to the damage of the vehicle before a motorist would have a chance of claiming compensation.
“So for most motorists it won’t be possible to obtain compensation, though that doesn’t mean many more vehicles are not damaged from potholes with the motorist having to pick up the tab.”
Derek Lowson, 67,of Moresby Close, is concerned about the methods of resurfacing works.
“The potholes on our street had been there for months,” he said. “The council came round to do part of the road, but they just drove straight past the entrance to the street, did the section at the back, and drove their van back over the worst part.
“It doesn’t make any sense. Drivers would have to pass over the damaged section to reach the part they had fixed up, so they are still at risk.”
A spokesman from Swindon Borough Council said: “The council has a good record of inspecting the roads regularly to make sure potentially damaging potholes are spotted as soon as possible, and then repaired quickly.
“This is why the amount we pay out in claims is relatively low compared to many other local authorities.
“It’s not in anyone’s interests for any council to be paying out money in compensation if it can avoid legitimate claims in the first place.”
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