A MAN who wrecked two tyres driving over a seven-inch-deep pothole was “flabbergasted” to be told the local council couldn’t be held liable.
Brian Willson had his claim against Bournemouth council’s insurer turned down because no-one had told the council the hole was there.
He was expecting the council to foot the £218 bill for replacing the shredded tyres on his Volvo after the accident in Muscliff Lane, Throop.
“Apparently, because it was inspected two months previously and that particular pothole has not been reported, if somebody goes down it, they can’t claim anything,” he said.
“It’s totally unfair. People should be aware.
“I’m just flabbergasted. You’d think someone from the council would have seen that hole and reported it.”
Throop and Muscliff councillor Derek Borthwick, who took up Mr Willson’s case, said: “He’s entitled to feel very aggrieved.”
He said a Mercedes had come to grief in the same lane since Mr Willson’s accident on December 2.
Larry Austin, Bournemouth council’s street services manager, said the council carried out a regular “inspection and repair regime”.
He added: “If defects in the road appear between our inspections, and they are not reported to us, the council may not be liable for any damage they may cause.
“There is no automatic right to compensation but claims are considered on the basis of legal liability.”
The council recently approved an extra £2.5 million for its roads, including pothole repairs.
A statement from the council’s insurer, Zurich, said freezing and thawing could cause potholes to form quickly.
“The highway authority has a duty to keep the highway free from defects but is required to do what is reasonably practicable.
“In the case of potholes they will have a system that prioritises road inspections – eg: via a rota system based on the type of road.
“So long as they can demonstrate they have a reasonable system of inspection and frequency proportionate to the road type/usage they are not to be automatically held accountable.”
The time spent tackling potholes had to be “proportionate” and weighed against the council’s other responsibilities.
Potholes can be reported by ringing 01202 451199 (Bournemouth), 01202 265255 (Poole) or 01305 221020 (Dorset).