THEY’RE a problem that just won’t go away.
Last month Kirklees Council set aside £3.5m – in addition to £4.1m already spent repairing 7,000 potholes – to repair roads damaged by January’s cold snap.
But now two more Huddersfield residents are out of pocket.
Potholes have caused around £200 to a Highburton man’s car and £126 damage to a Newsome woman’s car.
Michael Johnson’s car was only damaged on Tuesday. He’s expecting a repair bill of around £200 and says he will put a claim in to Kirklees Council.
But, for Angela Dyson, the outcome is much clearer – the council has failed to accept responsibility for the damage caused to her Nissan Almera.
The day before the council’s inspector visited the site, workers filled in the offending pothole.
Angela, of Blagden Lane, said: “It was a situation I couldn’t avoid.
“What gets me is that the council tell people to put their complaints in writing, but when you do they don’t accept responsibility, quoting the Highways Act 1980.
“The roads here are in a terrible state. If you go out of Kirklees they’re much better and in North Yorkshire, well they’re a luxury there.”
Her car was damaged on January 18 and she had to drive it to a garage immediately to get it fixed.
She added: “As the pothole was right outside my house there was nothing that I could do.
“I put in a claim and sent photographs of the pothole and the bill from my garage.
“On the day before the inspector was due to come out they came and filled it in, but she couldn’t have failed to see the amount of new tarmac in the hole and I had photographs too.”
The motorist filled in forms, but at the end of last month was told the council was not accepting responsibility.
A letter said that ‘after appropriate consideration the council does not accept that the accident was a result of a breach of duty on behalf of the council’.
“I phoned them and said, ‘well if you’re not responsible who is?’
“The inspectors report puts this down as an unclassified road and not a main bus route, yet we’ve got three or four buses an hour driving up and down.
“They won’t resurface the road, they just fill them in again and again.
“I suppose all anyone can do is report everyone you see, and everyone living on a road should do it, or nothing will get done.”
For Highburton motorist Michael Johnson his car, also a Nissan, was damaged by a pothole on Luck Lane at Marsh on Tuesday.
The suspension coil snapped when he drove his car along the road.
The 29-yar-old said: “I was driving along and heard a noise, it sounded as if my exhaust was dragging along the road.
“I’m not a car expert but jumped out straight away and looked underneath, but I couldn’t see anything wrong.
“I cycle a lot and without a doubt there are a lot of problems on the roads at the moment.
“It’s even more hazardous on a bike.”
Results of a poll released today show that the state of the roads is the biggest transport issue for voters ahead of the general and local elections.
As many as 77% reckoned potholes and damaged roads were a big problem in their area, the Ipsos Mori survey for the RAC Foundation showed.
The condition of roads and pavements was seen as the highest priority for an incoming government, followed by the cost of using a car and the cost of travelling by train.
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “Whether or not the council has legal liability for damage in a case like this is determined by the Highways Act 1980.
“The Act acknowledges that councils can’t be responsible for all damage at all locations at all times as this would be an unsupportable drain on public funds.
“If the defect in the road is dangerous, the Act provides a statutory defence when the council has carried out a safety inspection in accordance with national guidelines.
“Blagden Lane is inspected every three months and was last inspected in November last year, when this particular pothole was repaired.
“We did not receive any reports of deterioration before the incident occurred with Mrs Dyson’s vehicle and therefore we remain of the opinion that we do not have liability.
“When the defect was reported after the incident, the pothole was repaired. We will continue inspecting Blagden Lane every three months and also when defects are reported.”
Mr Johnson’s complaint has not jet been submitted to Kirklees Council.