Driver is left to foot repair bill despite failure to maintain road
PUBLISHED: 08:06 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:06 22 February 2018
A Great Dunmow doctor was left with a repair bill for £1,600 after he drove into a pothole, despite Essex County Council admitting it failed in its duty to maintain the road and a road inspection occurring just months before.
Mike Tee, 60, a senior partner at John Tasker House Surgery, in Dunmow, paid out for replacement wheels on his Volkswagen Golf after the incident, which occurred on New Year’s Eve in Walden Road, Radwinter.
In a letter to Dr Tee, Essex County Council said an inspection of Walden Road was carried out in November, but the road was not deemed to be dangerous.
Dr Tee, who lives in Widdington, said: “I was driving my elderly parents-in-law when I heard a mighty bang, followed by another bang. I looked back and the hole was in the centre of the road. The car kept juddering.” He added that the wheels had ‘completely buckled.’
“I need a car for my job. I had to drive an unsafe car in order to provide care for my patients during house visits. Had the road been in a good condition this would not have happened.”
Dr Tee said he was driving at 25-30mph in the 30mph zone, when he drove into the pothole.
A letter sent to Dr Tee from Essex County Council conceded it did not meet its statutory duty to maintain the highway under the Highways Act 1980 but added that it had taken “reasonable steps” to ensure the highway was not dangerous, citing the November routine, and so did not have to pay compensation.
An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual compensation cases but we are happy to speak to Dr Tee directly about his claim. We are keen to reassure the public that all claims received by the council are fully investigated and damages are paid if the council is found liable as the highways authority.
“This winter we have put six additional highways crews on the ground dedicated to fixing potholes. In January, this resulted in more than 1,100 potholes being repaired. We have also pledged to increase spending on road and pavement repairs from £14million to £17million in this year’s budget.”