Council refuses to pay Grantham driver’s £777 pothole bill

Jacqui Bates's Smart car next to the pothole in Kenilworth Road which caused �777 worth of damage. Photo: 0130C
Jacqui Bates's Smart car next to the pothole in Kenilworth Road which caused �777 worth of damage. Photo: 0130C
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A driver remains embroiled in a dispute with the county council after she was forced to pay out £777 when her car was damaged hitting a pothole near her home more than two months ago.

Jacqui Bates, of Sandringham Drive, Grantham, was driving her Smart car when she was forced to brake and pull over to the side of Kenilworth Road when an oncoming vehicle came round a corner in the middle of the road. The pothole buckled a wheel and damaged the clutch.

Miss Bates, 37, wrote to Linconshire County Council asking for compensation, but the council said it was not liable for the damage because the hole in the road was not big enough to warrant a compensation claim. In a letter to Miss Bates, legal officer Manjit Sidhu said the depth of the hole had been measured at 10mm, but she disputes this having measured the pothole herself to a depth of 90mm.

On July 30 the council apologised in another letter saying that the council had measured the depth to a maximum of 60mm, but says it is still not liable for the damage because the hole had not been reported previously.

Miss Bates said: “I am livid. I think they are a joke. They are completely contradicting themselves and still will not admit liability. How they could get away with saying it was only 10mm deep is beyond me. If they do not admit liability I will get a solicitor’s letter sent to them.”

The pothole which is about six feet long and at a bus stop, is outside Carole Toulson’s house. She says the pothole has been there since the beginning of the year. Council officials have chalked it off, but no work has been done.

She said: “When there are people standing there and the bus hits the pothole it can throw stones up and someone is going to get injured.”

In a letter, dated July 30, to Miss Bates, Mr Sidhu says that repairs to the hole have been done. Mr Sidhu told Miss Bates: “If the defect had been reported to the council prior to the time of your incident, and the council did nothing to repair it then potentially it could be found to be negligent. However, in this instance, there was no report made to the council and hence it did not have an opportunity to deal with it. Therefore, the council has not been negligent.

“The council did, however, respond entirely appropriately following the report of your incident by repairing the defect, but this does not give rise to any liability on the part of the council.”