Kent

Hundreds of pothole claims rejected by Kent County Council

Pothole road repair
Image caption The Asphalt Industry Alliance found that almost a fifth of roads in the UK were in poor condition

Hundreds of pothole compensation claims have been rejected by Kent County Council on the grounds it was planning to repair the roads in the future.

Details released to the Kent Messenger under a Freedom of Information request reveal that, since 2015, 568 motorists were refused a payout.

In the same period, 208 claims were upheld with £46,748 paid out in total.

Kent County Council said the figures reflected its "improved fault reporting and repairs".

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A recent survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found almost a fifth of UK roads were in "poor" condition, with councils almost £730m short of what was needed to keep the network in "reasonable order".

Image caption Miles Garage in Tunbridge Wells said it regularly repaired cars with broken springs

However, under the Highways Act authorities can dismiss drivers' claims if they can demonstrate the defective road is scheduled for repair "within reasonable time".

Jimmy Webb, workshop manager at Miles Garage in Tunbridge Wells, said between two and four cars a week are brought to him with broken springs caused by potholes.

"Five years ago we would probably do one set of springs a month, one every two months," he said.

"Now when a customer comes in and says they've got a rattle we know that nine times out of 10 it will be a broken spring."

Image caption Kent County Council said it aimed to repair potholes within a month of them being reported

Kent County Council's website warns that the "majority of compensation claims are unsuccessful".

In a statement, a spokesman said it was responsible for maintaining 5,400 miles of road network.

"Our low figures for 'successful' claims reflect a low level of liability because of our improved fault reporting and repairs.

"Councils across the country cannot be held liable for a defect they are not aware of, as set out by government legislation."

He added that once reported, the council aimed to repair potholes within a month.

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