The Daily Express (28/11/13) reports that a Mr Joe Woods offered to provide an interest free loan of £5,157 to his council, South Tyneside, to repair 80 potholes on his road in Jarrow. The council declined this unusual and generous offer.
Potholes, potentially a death trap for cyclists, are particularly difficult to see at night explains Personal Injury Solicitor Paul Kitson. It is a scandalous state of affairs that Britain's councils cannot afford to fill potholes.
The recent Court of Appeal decision in Barker v Lancashire County Council fuels complacency on the part of councils. In that case it was held that in relation to claims under the Highways Act 1980, a Claimant must prove that the injury or damage was caused by a defect created by the council's failure to maintain or repair.
Regular inspections by a council will often get them off the hook; it being virtually impossible to challenge that the inspection did not take place or that it was ineffective.
The Court of Appeal stressed that it was not enough to show that the general area of the highway was in some way defective. Thus in a civil claim a Claimant must prove that the pothole which caused the injury was present at the time of the last inspection or that the defect had been reported to them but not repaired.
In these cases councils usually argue that the pothole appeared after their last inspection. The law is stacked massively in favour of cash strapped councils hence complacency.