Sunderland Council pays out £90,000 to people hurt in pavement trips and falls

Dominic McDonough highlights the state of the pavements around Herrington.
Dominic McDonough highlights the state of the pavements around Herrington.
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Sunderland City Council paid out more than £90,000 in compensation to people injured in trips and falls on pavements last year.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that £90,028.16 was paid in 2014/15.

Now an aspiring Tory councillor has condemned the tally and urged the council to do more to safeguard public safety.

Conservative candidate for St Chad’s Dominic McDonough said: “I am truly shocked that we are losing over £90,000 a year due to the councils failure to fix our pavements.

“I have received a number of complaints from local residents about the state of pavements in St Chad’s and believe that the council are letting us down.

“We constantly hear about the council’s big spending on a number of vanity projects but these figures prove that ignoring the basics is costing us dear.

“There are a lot of older people in the ward and I know many them are concerned, especially with winter on its way.”

But the senior councillor responsible for the state of the city’s pavements defended the council’s record – and pointed the finger at Tory government spending cuts for slashing the repair budget.

City council Portfolio Holder for City Services Coun Michael Mordey said: “The city council is very aware of the number and cost of the accidents it is held responsible for, and is constantly managing risks to reduce figures.”

More than nine out of ten compensation claims were rejected, said Coun Mordey. He added: “The council runs a robust system of highway inspection and repairs in line with the national Code of Practice.

“This is as well as looking at suspicious claims with 95 per cent not accepted in 2014-2015. In the few cases where the council is held responsible, action is taken to prevent any repeat.

“Highway maintenance remains crucial and more than £2million is being invested in the road and footway network this year.

“And, as with local authorities across the country, this council would like to invest and spend more on its roads and pavements.

“Sadly, the financial constraints and disproportionate cuts that Central Government continues to impose on Sunderland and its neighbours means that repairs and works budgets are under extreme pressure.

“Nonetheless, highways maintenance is important work for the council and members of the public can report problems through the council’s website or by calling 0191 520 5550.”