Call for council to go easier over pot-hole compensation claims

PUBLISHED: 14:14 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:15 16 March 2020

A call has been made for the council to be less stringent over pot-hole claims. Pic: Ian Burt.

A call has been made for the council to be less stringent over pot-hole claims. Pic: Ian Burt.

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Council bosses should go easier on drivers whose cars are damaged by pot-holes on Norfolk’s roads, when it comes to compensation claims, councillors have said.

Bev Spratt, Conservative county councillor for West Depwade. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Bev Spratt, Conservative county councillor for West Depwade. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

But officers at Norfolk County Council hit back at that call, saying it was important the authority’s “robust” approach of dealing with such claims remained in place - for all cases.

Between January 2018 and October last year, the council received 1,035 compensation claims over vehicle damage or personal injury caused by pot-holes, according to a request under the Freedom Of Information Act.

During that period, the council paid out £23,105 in compensation.

However, some councillors questioned whether the council is too stringent around they way it defends compensation claims - and suggested that, in some cases, the authority ought to be more willing to pay out.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the infrastructure and development select committee, where councillors were told that the number of pot-hole reports in 2018/19 fell from the 8,500 in 2017/18 to about 6,000.

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So far in 2019/20 there have been just over 4,000 pot-holes reported.

The fall is partly due to milder winters and because 2018 saw considerable damage due to the Beast from the East.

Bev Spratt, Conservative councillor for West Depwade, raised the question of whether the council was too tough on drivers who claim compensation for pot-hole damage.

He said: “I think we can handle some cases a lot better. These are residents paying high council tax now and they expect the roads to be in fairly good order. There should be just a little leeway to meet those people halfway who have smashed up two wheels and have to cover the cost themselves.”

But Tom McCabe, the council’s head of paid service and director of community and environmental services, said it was important to have a robust policy in place which treated all drivers equally.

He said payments would be made to those with legitimate claims, but said: “If somebody has damaged their car on the roads they can put in an insurance claim to the county council.

“The county council has a very strong defence and as long as we have a robust inspection programme in place, we have a very high success rate of refuting claims.”

MORE: Discover which roads sparked the most complaints about pot-holes and damage

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