A hole lot of bother

Action Walsh'Darren Potts pothole
Action Walsh'Darren Potts pothole
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HIT a pothole? Damaged your car? Thought about claiming compensation? Join the club!

Most fair-minded people t hink councils have a responsibility to maintain roads – and if holes in the carriageway become big enough to damage vehicles then they have failed in that responsibility.

Action Walsh''Broken springs - Darren Potts

Action Walsh''Broken springs - Darren Potts

Unfortunately it is Action Desk’s duty to inform you that your chances of getting a penny are slim to none – as Darren Potts discovered.

He hit a pothole on Knutton Road, Parson Cross, in December which broke a spring on his Renault Megane. It cost £303 to replace, including parts and labour – a considerable financial blow just before Christmas.

Not one to take misfortune lying down, Darren photographed the crater and measured it – 70cm by 50 cm by 10cm deep – and put in a claim to Sheffield City Council.

Darren then spoke to an official – who swiftly skewered his claim. The road had last been inspected in March. End of story.

Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 allows councils to tell drivers to take a hike. It establishes a watertight defence provided the road was inspected within a legal timeframe – in this case 12 months.

Darren, of Fulmere Crescent, Parson Cross, said: “Apparently they only inspect the road once every 12 months. Which person is being paid a fortune to inspect roads once a year? Heads should roll.

“I will be writing to Mr Blunkett re this matter, as I can’t afford not to have my money.”

In a letter to Mr Potts, Jenny Gough of the Insurance and Risk Team says there was no negligence on the council’s part and therefore no claim.

She adds: “While we regret the inconvenience and expense you have suffered we can find no evidence of council negligence and therefore have no alternative but to decline your claim.”