Councillor calls for pothole repairs after compensation claims cost more than £50k over four years

Councillor's Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall in Wilton Park Road with pothole problems.
Councillor's Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall in Wilton Park Road with pothole problems.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall has called for more money to be spent on repairing our region’s roads, after learning that more than £50,000 has been paid out in compensation claims over the last four years.

At the council meeting held at Newtown St Boswells last Thursday, Mr Marshall asked Councillor Gordon Edgar, the executive member responsible for roads and infrastructure, the number of recent claims with regard to damage caused to vehicles as a result of potholes.

He also asked how many were successful, how long it took for a claim to be processed and how many claims were made by pedestrians.

Mr Edgar said: “There have been 173 claims for vehicle damage in the Scottish Borders as a result of potholes/carriageway defects in the 12-month period since 22 January 2017 – a decrease on the previous 12 months when the comparable figure was 355 claims.

“At present 54 of these claims have been settled, but this figure may eventually change as not all claims received in the last 12 months have been closed.”

Mr Edgar couldn’t provide the information as to the average time of claims being processed, but said he would ask insurers. He added: “There were 17 claims received in the last 12 months, in regards to injury to pedestrians from trips related to carriageway/footway defects – a decrease on the previous 12 months when the figure was 24 claims.”

Mr Marshall told us: “I was raising the questions on behalf of many constituents who have suffered through alleged defects on our roads or on our footpaths and bridges.

“Some are motorists and some are pedestrians, and I needed to get a much better understanding of how much money is being shelled out on compensation.

“With over £50k having been paid out to claimants in the past four years, one has to ask themselves, would we not be better filling in these pot holes with the money that we are having to continually spend on compensation?

“I have in recent weeks seen some horrific pictures of constituents who have fallen as an alleged result of pot holes and defective footpaths.

“I have also had several motorists contact me regarding the huge repair bills that they have been faced with because of alleged defective roads.

“This is a very worrying trend. I also receive complaints regularly that people who suffer injury because of alleged defects on our roads and footpaths, but don’t actually pursue the matter further.”