Council pays £1.7 million for personal injury

Cracks in the pavement, Coneygree road, by junction with lawson avenue, stanground
Cracks in the pavement, Coneygree road, by junction with lawson avenue, stanground

Cracked and broken pavements and footpaths are costing East Sussex County Council £1.7 million pounds.

The cash-strapped council says it has been forced to make drastic cuts, including withdrawing subsidies for rural bus services, yet is paying a huge amount in compensation to injured pedestrians.

The county council is faced with making £18 million in cuts from its 2015/16 budget, yet figures show it has paid £1.7 million in compensation and professional fees in the last four years.

In contrast, Kent County Council, which covers a wider area, spent £454,542 on such claims since March 2012.

The state of pavements has become an issue in Rye.

Complaints were made about the poor condition of the road and paths at Ropewalk, during the annual Rye Town Meeting in March, while a partially sighted lady told the Rye Observer the town was full of dangerous trip hazards.

The problem has been compounded at Rye’s Tilling Green estate where the county council switch off street lights overnight to save money.

Residents there say the pavements are in a poor condition .

Mike Bell, from Tilling Green said: “It is very dangerous - a serious accident is waiting to happen.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We regularly inspect all 2,000 miles of road and pavements and make necessary repairs to keep them in a safe condition.

“Our annual budget for general pavement maintenance in the county is £600,000. We also provide a 24/7 emergency call out service to deal with damaged pavements when they are reported to us.

“East Sussex County Council thoroughly investigates all claims made against us and pay compensation where there is a legal liability to do so.”

The county council insists it always ‘robust’ in the investigation of claims, as they are paid from public money. An estimated 70 percent of claims are unsuccessful.