Council to receive £17m to fix Northamptonshire's roads after FOI reveals around 500 sue for pothole damage every year

The Government is set to give Northamptonshire County Council funding to make the A361 in the west of the county less dangerous.
The Government is set to give Northamptonshire County Council funding to make the A361 in the west of the county less dangerous.
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A £1.1 million designated pothole grant is included in a £17 million package of Government funding aimed at fixing the county's routes.

The Department for Transport has announced Northamptonshire is to receive 17.659 million from the Government to use on highways maintenance in 2017/18, the third highest figure in the East Midlands - but less than half that of Lincolnshire.

More than 2,000 people have sued the council for pothole damage over the past four years.

More than 2,000 people have sued the council for pothole damage over the past four years.

Of that the county is to receive 1.171 million from the Pothole Action Fund, a ring-fenced scheme that must be spent on fixing the county's bumpy highways.

And in 2017/18 the Government has also designated an as-yet-unknown amount to help make the A361 between Kilsby and the A5 in Daventry, safer.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The section of A361 between Daventry and Kilsby is one of the active Red Routes in the county in terms of collision history and has been identified by the DfT for improvement funding support.

“We welcome this opportunity and, at this very early stage, have a meeting arranged with the DfT to discuss the scope, extent and arrangements for the funding which will enable us to explore appropriate measures.”

Councils across the country found out what share of the £1.2 billion highways funding they would receive yesterday. In the East Midlands, Lincolnshire will receive the lion's share of funding, at £35.419 million.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The funding we have allocated is focused on relieving congestion and providing important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future."

The fund to help alleviate potholes in the county comes as figures reveal, 2,051 have sued the county council in the past four years after their cars were damaged by a pothole.

The Freedom of Information request shows the council had to pay out a total of £94,468.

“The public recognises that the roads require a great deal of attention, as surfaces have suffered due to underinvestment in the past and the cumulative effects of severe winters," said the spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council.

“There’s a great deal of work that still needs to be done and that is why highways maintenance remains a high priority."

The council has no influence over whether a motorist makes a claim or not, though Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides councils with a statutory defence against claims where it can establish care was taken to ensure that part of the highway was not dangerous.