£1.23m pothole payout

Pot holes and uneven roads which are causing damage to vehicles in Sheffield and have cost the Sheffield council �1.23 million in compensation and legal fees over the last four years. Damage on Halifax Road near Foxhill
Pot holes and uneven roads which are causing damage to vehicles in Sheffield and have cost the Sheffield council �1.23 million in compensation and legal fees over the last four years. Damage on Halifax Road near Foxhill
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MORE than £1.2 million of public funds was paid out in compensation and legal fees for accidents and damage caused by potholes in Sheffield in four years, The Star can exclusively reveal.

Public money totalling £1,231,421 has been spent since 2007 due to the poor state of the city’s roads and pavements.

In the same period of time, Sheffield residents reported 17,048 potholes around the city - despite £11.4 million being spent repairing the roads between April 2007 and April 2011.

On average, nine potholes is reported to Sheffield Council’s Street Force department every day.

And for the first time The Star can reveal an exclusive breakdown of the city’s most pothole-ridden roads.

The figures, released as part of The Star’s Your Right To Know Campaign, show that complaints and payouts have increased steadily over a four-year period in what has been dubbed ‘Pothole City’.

A total of £244,888 was spent by the council on compensation and legal fees for the 2007/08 financial year.

That jumped to £413,897 for 2008/09, before falling to £255,447 for 2009/10.

But it rose again to £317,188 in 2010/11 - the most recent figures available.

In total £1,231,421 was paid out.

Campaign group potholes.co.uk accused Sheffield Council of a ‘patch and mend’ mentality when it comes to repairs.

Founder Duncan McClure claimed that, despite the taxpayer pouring billions into improving roads nationwide, there is an estimated £1 billion national shortfall in funding for repairs.

Mr McClure said: “Reversing the year-on-year growth in pothole complaints must be a priority for Sheffield Council.

“If potholes were fixed properly first time around, in the long run councils would save money and cause less hassle to road users.

“A combination of very cold, icy winters and UK-wide mismanagement of the pothole crisis means councils will inevitably rack up huge compensation bills.

“However, sufficient forward planning would enable more efficient use of maintenance funds.”