Council paid 16 pothole compensation claims worth £3,500 in a month on same Northamptonshire road

Repairs on the B569.
Repairs on the B569.
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Northamptonshire County Council paid claims totalling almost £3,500 in one month to drivers affected by one pothole-ridden road.

A Freedom of Information request by this newspaper revealed 767 claims were made by drivers between May 2016 and May this year.

Of those, just 34 were successful – but 16 of those were paid after damage caused by potholes on the B569 between Irchester and Wollaston between January 20 and February 18.

They included one claim for £756.90 and one for £695.53.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said the bad weather made the potholes worse and speeded up the deteoration process.

The spokesman said: “The defect on the B569 was reported at a time when temperatures were varying between normal and freezing regularly.

“This speeds up the deterioration process of any defect and what was classed a Category 2, four-month repair, rapidly became worse.

“We constantly review and improve the process for inspecting inquiries, particularly repeat reports, and addressing defect inquiries.

“All insurance claims are assessed on a case by case basis.

“We are committed to maintaining the quality of the county’s roads and we carry out regular inspections to see what maintenance work needs to be carried out.”

Other claims for damage caused by the potholes on the B569 ranged from payouts of £35 to £333.

In total, the claims reached £3,477.91 – almost half of the council’s county-wide payout total of £7,371.57 across the same 12 months.

Other roads across the county which saw large payouts included Broughton Road near Old (£662.34), Blakesley Road near Towcester (£419) and Folly Road in Wicken in the south of the county (£410.21).

Less than five per cent of all claims made were successful.

The council spokesman added that they are not liable to pay if they have repaired road defects in a reasonable time and carry out regular inspections.

The spokesman said: “Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides the county council with a statutory defence against claims where it can establish that reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the part of the highway to which the action relates was not dangerous to traffic.

“This is dependent on there being a systematic process of highway safety inspections, intervention and repairs.

“In other words we are not liable for compensation claims when we have acted within a reasonable timeframe to repair road defects and have also carried out regular inspections to ensure the road surface is safe.”

Northamptonshire received £1,171,000 in funding to tackle potholes for 2017-18.

But despite the cash boost it has remained a hot topic of conversation and the state of the county’s roads have come under heavy criticism.

In April county councillor Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, Northfield) got so frustrated with potholes in Kettering he placed a rubber duck in each one he came across before sending a picture to the council.

Last month a pothole on the A509 between Wellingborough and Isham was earmarked for a repair job just 10 days after it was originally fixed.

Corby resident Ian Duncan has also complained about the quality of repairs along Vian Way and Fotheringhay Road in the town.

He said: “Within two days of them [Highways officers] leaving two holes that were supposedly repaired again, they failed when all of the filling came out of the holes.

“The junction also started to fail where all the bodged holes were again suffering damage.

“I reported the issue again but with no response, eventually after six weeks, they once again returned and again bodged the repairs.”

A total of 7,518 potholes were reported to the county council over the 12 months – an average of 20.5 per day.

Have you been affected by potholes or issues with the roads in our county? Email us at newsdesk@northantsnews.co.uk