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Driver claims road neglected in pothole row

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A DRIVER whose car was damaged by a large pothole claims Warwickshire County Council is neglecting the safety of road users.

Pothole gulley on Wellesbourne to Kineton Road. (53881050)
Pothole gulley on Wellesbourne to Kineton Road. (53881050)

John Tompkins, from Wellesbourne, was driving home from Compton Verney on the B4086 Wellesbourne to Kineton road last September when he swerved slightly to avoid an oncoming car. One of his wheels hit a pothole and was damaged. He’s submitted a claim for £160 to the council, but the authority refused to accept liability.

“The pothole gulley must be two metres long and 15cm deep,” said Mr Tompkins. “I reported it to prevent other road users from having injury. The following day the council was out and I understand they laid six to seven bags of tarmac in it and marked it for further work.

“So, I submitted my claim within the 30-day window and was told it was not upheld as you basically have to prove negligence against the county council that they have not maintained the road under s58 of the Highways Act 1980.”

The council said it had followed all due process and had not had any prior complaints about the road.

Damage to wheel caused by the pothole. (53881052)
Damage to wheel caused by the pothole. (53881052)

But John believes the council “missed vital signs of the carriageway breaking down” and did not foresee that the road would be subject to faults in the future as required by the Highways Act 1980.

He added: “I do not feel the B4086 road south of Wellesbourne heading to Kineton is fit for purpose or for the HGV traffic using it.”

Mr Tompkins has requested an independent review of the road, which he understands is scheduled sometime after Christmas.

“This is not a dig at the county council, I just want them to look after road users,” he said.

A council spokesperson told the Herald: “The council manages and maintains Warwickshire’s transport network in a safe, sustainable and integrated way. Every road in Warwickshire is assessed against a range of factors which reflect the level of use and the relative importance of the section of road. This forms the basis of a highway network hierarchy which governs the frequency of safety inspections carried out.

“The council’s aim is to carry out maintenance of roads before potholes develop. The condition of the network asset is measured through annual condition surveys. The results of the surveys, along with engineering judgement, are used to formulate an annual maintenance programme.”

They explained that routine safety inspections of roads are carried ou, depending on the type of road, either monthly or between one to four times per year.

“If a pothole defect is found during an inspection, it is assessed on site by our safety team, who give the response time for fixing the defect,” the spokesperson added.

Response times, the council said, vary between two hours to 30 days depending on the scale of the defect.

"At this time there are 373 pothole defects in the county which are with our contractor for repair," the council explained. "This financial year, WCC has repaired 2,634 potholes across Warwickshire."

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