February 14, 2017
It’s not good enough for the Council to say we have a system for repairing potholes anymore! It has to follow it
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a decision of the lower court when it decided the council was to blame for an injury sustained by a jogger in Barnsley who fell into a deep pothole. The Court found that despite the council’s reduced resources at the time the pothole was reported and the council was still obliged to respond quickly to complaints from the public over dangerous defects in the road.
The pothole in the road had been reported to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council by a resident the previous day, at the end of the working week, but it was not repaired until two days into the following week.
The Court decided it was unreasonable that a pothole complaint made on a Friday would not be acted for at least 2 working days before being dealt with. Call centre staff should have been trained to evaluate the seriousness of potholes and instructed to contact the emergency standby team if necessary.
The court said ‘Lack of resources cannot justify a failure to provide a reasonable system. It may be perfectly reasonable to have a reduced staff and activity over a weekend. But there must be some means of responding quickly to complaints from the public of serious and dangerous defects in the road.’
Every case will turn on its own facts but for many years Council’s have relied on their defence, namely that they do inspect and repair when needed but if a complaint has been made it cannot be ignored!
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