Council is 'abusing' rules to avoid payouts for Banburyshire pothole damage, says national campaigner

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A council is 'abusing’ rules to avoid payouts for compensation for cars damaged by Banburyshire potholes.

That is the opinion of Brackley’s Mark Morrell – otherwise known as Mr Pothole for his national campaign to highlight Britain’s crumbling road infrastructure.

He has accused West Northants Council of abusing Section 58 of the Highways Act in responding to every pothole report with a 26-week repair schedule.

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He tweeted ‘This is totally unacceptable to leave these dangerous pothole defects for up to 26 weeks’

Mark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole, has been drawing attention to the terrible state of the country's roads for several yearsMark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole, has been drawing attention to the terrible state of the country's roads for several years
Mark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole, has been drawing attention to the terrible state of the country's roads for several years

He told the Banbury Guardian: “They are using a special defence in the Act that allows councils to reject claims if they don’t know about them - or if they’ve scheduled them for repair. So if they schedule them for six months, they can avoid or reject any claims made during that time.

"In the last year they have paid out for only one claim. They’ve got away with it by abusing the system.

"They say say they have registered the report and will repair it within 26 weeks – that they will monitor it in the meantime. In my experience they don’t monitor them adequately.”

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He said the Halse Road pothole highlighted in this article has been damaging people’s cars. It was repaired following Mr Pothole’s intervention.

A West Northants response to a report about a pothole on Fix My Street, giving itself 26 weeks, legally, to repair a potholeA West Northants response to a report about a pothole on Fix My Street, giving itself 26 weeks, legally, to repair a pothole
A West Northants response to a report about a pothole on Fix My Street, giving itself 26 weeks, legally, to repair a pothole

"The council wouldn’t have done this without me reporting it all over social media but I can’t report every pothole.” he said.

Mr Pothole said it would take 10 – 15 years and £3bn extra per year, ongoing, for the country’s roads to be brought to a reasonable standard.

Fixing potholes rather than re-surfacing roads properly was a false economy, he said.

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"The problem with Northants, Bucks and Oxfordshire is they’ve outsourced the road repairs to outside companies and they’ve effectively lost control of the quality of the work. “Our rural roads are in a dreadful state. As well as endless potholes and disintegrating carriageways, they have got no kerb line, so heavy traffic like HGVs and modern large tractors break the edges up. Those lanes were not designed for that kind of large traffic.”

West Northants Council has been asked to comment on the points made by Mr Morrell.