Running up a huge bill from potholes
Motorists aren’t the only ones getting a headache from the hundreds of potholes that open up in roads across Dunstable and Houghton Regis every year.
The problem is costing Central Bedfordshire Council thousands of pounds a year in payouts to motorists whose vehicles have been damaged thanks to faulty road surfaces.
A spokesman said that in the last financial year, 2011/2012, nearly £50,000 had been claimed in compensation.
The previous year it was £33,000.
A Freedom of Information request showed there were still open claims from the past three years totalling £93,000.
Nearly 600 claims were lodged between 2009 and 2012, but only a fraction resulted in a payout.
A motorist who claimed for damage caused by a hole in West Street, Dunstable, in March 2011, has already received a payout of £5,300, and could receive another £25,000.
And the council paid out £5,000 in compensation over damage caused by a hole in Hillborough Crescent, Houghton Regis, in September 2010.
A spokesperson said: “All across Central Bedfordshire, we seek to maintain our roads and work really hard to keep them in a good condition.
“Having said that, we’re acutely aware of the impact that weather and general wear and tear can have on them.
“Potholes can appear in between our routine monthly visits, and we would encourage people to report potholes to the helpdesk as this will help us to address the severe potholes as quickly as possible.”
Other holes that proved costly for the council included:
– Poynters Road: £119
– Chaul End Road, Caddington: £165
– West Street, Dunstable: £440
– Moor End, Eaton Bray: £200
– Harling Road, Edlesborough: £300
– Old Hill, Dunstable: £150
Councillor Brian Spurr, responsible for roads, said: “We’re clearly paying out too much. In our next budget we have funding for a new system so that when a reported pothole is fixed, any surrounding ones are done at the same time.”
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