£10,000 paid out by NELC for road damage claims in last five years
MORE than £10,000 has been paid out in compensation in the last five years due to potholes and related problems on our roads.
And North East Lincolnshire Council has guaranteed road users that it is doing all it can to repair the long-term damage caused by extreme weather.
New figures have revealed that a total of £10,877 was paid out by NELC as a result of damage caused by potholes and poor road surfaces since January 1, 2008.
In all, there were 182 claims made, of which 59 people were compensated.
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The majority were made between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011, totalling £6,421.
The news comes as roadworks continue across the borough, where teams are working sometimes overnight to repair road surfaces.
Meanwhile, Joanne Boswell, 38, of Queen Mary Avenue, in Cleethorpes, feels "let down" after her claim for compensation was rejected. She believes her front room window was smashed by loose road chippings, thrown up by a passing car, in July. It had recently been resurfaced.
The council contracted Kiely Bros Ltd to carry out the work, and Ms Boswell's claim was passed from NELC to that firm.
It has since written to Ms Boswell to reject her claim, saying it "cannot be held responsible for the actions of drivers who ignore the signs and continue to speed".
"I think it is shocking that so few people have got compensation," she said. "The relevant organisation should take more time in making decisions.
"When my front room window was smashed, we found a lot of road chippings in the garden and below the window.
"I called the council and they told me to submit a claim, which I did straight away. I received a conformation e-mail and a reference number, and a letter some days later asking for photographic evidence, which I provided. I was really hopeful I would get the window repaired until I got a second letter towards the end of August from Kiely Bros Ltd, saying they were not going to replace it.
"I was really angry because no one came out to look at it and I feel very let down.
"The council don't feel they are responsible but I say it is their fault, because they were responsible for carrying out the resurfacing in the first place.
"At the time of the works, there were mounds of gravel up and down the road which got sprayed everywhere.
"There are loose road chippings on the road even now."
As reported, extreme weather conditions in recent years, particularly the winter of 2010, caused havoc on our roads.
The Grimsby Telegraph received so many complaints about potholes and other damage that we launched the Spot The Pots campaign, to collect information about the area's worst roads.
This month, we reported how a £696,000 scheme to redress 84 stretches of North East Lincolnshire's roads began in the hope of preventing future damage caused by extreme changes in temperature.
It has been funded by the council's Local Transport Plan's capital programme.
Jason Longhurst, head of development at NELC, said: "In the past five years, North East Lincolnshire Council has compensated £10,877 for pothole-related claims.
"This sharp rise in compensation claims was a result of the extreme weather conditions North East Lincolnshire experienced during 2010 and 2011.
"However, the recent rise in the number of compensation companies also plays a part in this increase.
"We are working hard to maintain the borough's roads to Government standards and have just completed the annual resurfacing programme, together with major resurfacing works.
"North East Lincolnshire Council is committed to ensuring the roads and footways in the borough are maintained to the highest standard and reports from residents help us to respond and repair them as quickly as possible.
"I am sorry to hear of Ms Boswell's problems following road resurfacing. Every contractor North East Lincolnshire Council uses are required to have sufficient insurance in place to cover the council against any claims of this nature.
"As such, this and any other claims for damage, are forwarded direct to the contractor for them to deal with through their insurers.
"Once contractors receive this information, they investigate the circumstances and respond appropriately.
"I can confirm that Ms Boswell's details, together with photographs, were forwarded to the contractor for their consideration."
Since 2010, more than 54,000 compensation claims have been made nationwide to councils for damage caused by neglected roads and potholes. This has cost a total of £4.8 million.
One in eight drivers have suffered car damage as a result of poor road surfaces since 2010, causing three quarters of motorists to believe road surfaces are now in a worse state than they were five years ago, according to a study carried out by Britannia Rescue and LV.
Members of the public are urged to report any defects on the borough's highways by calling 01472 324500 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details about the ongoing redressing works, call 01472 324500 or visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/resident/transport--streets-and-parking/roads-and-pavements/road-surface-dressing-2012/