Threat to sue over potholes

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A TAXI driver is threatening to sue Scarborough Council after a pothole left her out of pocket by more than £1,000.

Maggie Lodge, who has worked as a taxi driver in Scarborough for 32 years, was handed a bill for £700 after her Vauxhall Insignia was damaged near the town centre.

She then faced more expense as she was unable to work for five days while her taxi was repaired.

Miss Lodge, who works for Station Taxis, says she will take legal action against the council if she is not compensated in full for the damage to her car as well as her lost earnings.

“It’s cost me five days’ pay but all the council have said is to fill in a claim form,” Miss Lodge said yesterday. “I’ve asked for one four or five times now and they still haven’t sent it out.”

Damage to the town’s roads is still a problem for Scarborough’s motorists after the snow and ice from a sustained frost in December.

Many potholes have been repaired in and around the town centre but Miss Lodge’s taxi hit the pothole in Falsgrave Road, close to the traffic lights at Sainsbury’s, on January 28. She was unable to work again until Thursday last week.

The pothole has been filled in by the council, although Miss Lodge took a picture of it after the damage was done.

“I heard a huge bang when I hit it,” she said. “I dropped my customer off then when I got back to the rank at the station I realised I had a flat tyre.

“I was told it would be £249 for a new tyre, then I got a call to say the alloy wheel had buckled as well which would be an extra £410. They couldn’t get the wheel straight away so I had to sit at home with my own fully licensed taxi just sat in the driveway. I couldn’t work for the weekend which is my busiest time. No-one can afford that.

“The tyre specialist said the damage was caused by the pothole, so I intend to pursue this.”

Miss Lodge said the town’s roads are still in a poor state of repair despite a period of relatively mild weather.

“It was in the middle of a major road,” she said. “I think the pothole should have been filled in much earlier. It was so deep that you could see the wires under the road.

“You can’t be swerving all the time because you could swerve into another car. If a cyclist or a motorcyclist had hit it they could have come off and been run over.”

Scarborough Council had not made a comment yesterday on Miss Lodge’s complaint.

The results of a national survey, published yesterday, showed that 16 per cent of the 1,478 drivers who were questioned said they had damaged their cars by hitting a pothole.

A third of participants said potholes had caused them to brake heavily, while more than 30 per cent had to swerve into another lane.

Peter Markey, director of insurance company More Than which carried out the survey, said: “December was the coldest experienced in the UK since records began, which, unsurprisingly, has heavily impacted our roads.

“Drivers across the country are now facing a serious hazard to their journeys, with the average driver saying they have to dodge around six potholes every day.

“In areas where potholes are known, drivers should slow down to avoid having to take evasive action at the last minute. Potholes should also be reported to the local council so they are made aware of the problem.”

Potholes can be reported to Scarborough Council through Customer First on 01723 232323. Potholes outside of the urban Scarborough area are the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council.