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Gloucestershire motorists' pothole claims rocket - but payouts drop

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: April 07, 2014

Potholes at Highleadon damaged several cars earlier this year

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LESS than one in 10 motorists who claim for pothole damage on Gloucestershire’s roads succeed - but 10 years ago it was a very different picture.

Figures obtained by the Gloucester Citizen from Gloucestershire County Council under the Freedom of Information Act reveal how claims have rocketed - and the percentage paid out has plummeted.

Since the 2007 floods and successive bad winters, the council has battled to fill thousands of potholes - in a perfect world it would need to spend £85million to bring them all up to scratch.

Ten years ago there were just 118 claims and 46 (40 per cent) were paid out.

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This year so far there have been 595 claims and just six per cent (37) have been paid out. The most claims made was in 2010/11, with 741 - and 60 of them were paid by the council.

In 2004/05 39 per cent of claims were settled, then 15 per cent in 2005/06, 13 per cent in 2006/07, nine per cent in 2007/08, 10 per cent in 2009/10, eight per cent in 2010/11, seven per cent in 2011/12, 10 % in 2012/13, and six per cent to date in 2013/14.

Hylary Kingham, from Tibberton, had her claim rejected by Gloucestershire County Council after she suffered a puncture when he Mercedes hit a pothole on the B4215 at Highleadon on December 29.

“I am not surprised at these figures,” she said. “They have their procedures in place and they say they followed them.

“A new tyre cost me £150 - although the rim was marked that didn’t need replacing.”

When she complained to the council she was told that the road was repaired later the same day after the police reported it. But the following month many other drivers suffered the same fate.

As many as 10 drivers were forced to pull over on January 8, after vehicles hit a large pothole which was filled with water near Trioscape garden centre at Highleadon.

A council spokeswoman said it is governed by sections the Road Traffic Act and national code of practice over whether it has kept its duty of care to inspect and repair the roads and not just if a pothole is present.

Jason Humm, area highways manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “When prioritising which potholes are tackled first factors such as size, location in the road and how busy the road is have to be considered.

“We inspect our well used roads at least every month for potholes or any road defect.

“Higher priority potholes are fixed within 24 hours, and others, if they meet the national safety requirements, will be repaired within 28 days which is in line with UK guidelines.”

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  • GalaxyGirl1  |  April 08 2014, 9:38AM

    I was forced onto the edge of the road by another car driver, and the edge was so jagged from recent tarmacing that both tyres punctured on the passenger side and both wheel rims had to be replaced. My car was undriveable meaning it had to be towed to the garage and it cost me nearly £400 in total. I claimed but it was rejected as the road had been inspected within x amount of days before hand. Oddly enough within days of my claim they made a temporary repair to the road covering it in gravel that washed away in a few days! Furious doesn't come close and it is a disgrace how they are getting away with so much damage to drivers vehicles.

  • meymey  |  April 07 2014, 8:00PM

    i have had a good few cars over the years and never have i had to replace track rods on any of them until recently this can only be down to the deplorable state the roads in gloucester city boundaries have now got to, patches on patches on patches in some places, and has soon has they fill one hole another appears by the side of it or the filling is out within a matter of days in some cases

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  • tishwash  |  April 07 2014, 6:23PM

    It's a waste of time trying to claim, there's long term potholes EVERYWHERE in Cheltenham but the council don't care. I wonder if the councillor's roads have pot holes?

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