Council facing hefty bill as large pothole causes chaos

THE council could be facing claims for hundreds of pounds after 11 cars were damaged after striking the same pothole within minutes of each other.

The bizarre incident unfolded along Hastings Road in Telham on Wednesday January 22 in the evening.

Motorist Sophie Holdt was driving home from a hospital appointment when her car smashed into a large pothole.

When she pulled over to assess the damage, she was stunned to find she was not the only one to fall victim to the pothole.

Sophie said: “On my way home from a hospital appointment I hit a massive pothole between the Black Horse pub and Crowhurst Park holiday village.

“On hearing the puncture I pulled over to find five other cars with punctures!

“To my disbelief there were a further five cars at least further down the road in exactly the same situation.

“We were all dismayed at the events and the bizarre sight of five cars changing their front left tyre.

“We had all hit the same pothole.

“Some people were fixing their own cars and others had called the RAC and AA.

“The police were nowhere to be seen although several people had informed them.”

East Sussex County Council, which is responsible for the state of the county’s roads, is now potentially facing a hefty bill as affected motorists prepare their compensation claims.

Sophie said: “I am horrified at the state of the road and the lack of regard for motorists.

“We are all lucky nothing more serious had occurred.

“Many of us will be perusing the council to recover the costs.

“It was such a freak event and strange sight.”

Roger Williams, East Sussex County Council head of highways, said: “The pothole in question was reported by one of our highways stewards, who arranged for it to be scheduled for repair within our agreed policy for potholes of this size, within five days.

“On Thursday January 23 we received a number of calls from members of the public informing us that they’d experienced problems.

“We attended the location as planned and carried out the repairs the following day (January 24).

“We understand the frustration of motorists and we are doing everything we can to fix potholes, reports of which have increased as a result of the recent bad weather, as quickly as possible.

“We have diverted more resources into tackling this issue and we are currently repairing around 250 potholes every day across the county.”

At a recent cabinet meeting, East Sussex County Council revealed plans to put aside an additional £2.25 million funding to fix potholes.

Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of the council, said the funds would allow ESCC to fix potholes more quickly.

See page seven for more about the council’s budget plans.