Driver loses pothole battle with council

John Hodgson was faced with a bill of more than �300 to replace a tyre and repair his car after hitting a pothole on Lizard Lane near his Whitburn home.
John Hodgson was faced with a bill of more than �300 to replace a tyre and repair his car after hitting a pothole on Lizard Lane near his Whitburn home.
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A MOTORIST was left with a £330 car repair bill after losing his claim that it was damaged by a pothole.

John Hodgson heard a loud banging noise as his £70,000 Mercedes 320 CLS careered through the huge hole in Lizard Lane, Whitburn.

The five-inch-deep gash in the road severely damaged his front right tyre and also put the tracking out.

Quoted £272 for the new tyre and £59.90 to repair the tracking, John, from Whitburn, sent a claim for compensation to South Tyneside Council.

Claims to that authority are handled by Sunderland City Council, which ruled neither negligence nor a breach of duty could be proven over the incident on December 31.

The council wrote to John explaining the pothole had arisen between monthly road inspections, before it was repaired.

This, they said, demonstrated a “reasonable system of inspection and maintenance,” and provided a legal defence against such a claim.

“I wrote to them, and they said they would reply within three months,” said John. “I honestly thought they would just send a cheque, so I was flabbergasted.

“You pay about £250 road tax, but the roads are diabolical. Where does the money go?

“When I read the letter, I just burst out laughing.”

In a further letter to John, the council explained that even if the pothole had been developing at the time of the inspection, carried out 11 days before the accident, a repair would only have been ordered if it was more than 40mm deep.

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We are satisfied that our insurance claims handlers undertook a thorough investigation and came to an appropriate conclusion in the case of Mr Hodgson.

“The location in question is regularly monitored by the council’s road maintenance team.”