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Worcester couple took council to court over roads
A COUPLE have taken highways chiefs to court after a pot hole caused hundreds of pounds damage to their car.
The Norton residents lost their challenge but say it was the principle which they were standing up for.
“We lost the case but that’s what we expected,” said Mrs Wakefield, who is 52. It was not really about winning.
“It sounds ludicrous and pathetic that people are going to court over this, but it’s the principle.
“We were doing it for the regular, everyday person because often, people do not have the guts to take it on.” She said they decided to go to court after Mr Wakefield had to fork out £175 for a new tyre after hitting a pothole in Church Lane, Norton.
The couple, who run Stretch Marketing from their home, asked the council to pay for the damage, but it refused.
As part of their evidence in court, they produced a copy of your Worcester News from March this year, featuring Derek Jones, who had to spend £165 after his Kia was damaged on the same road.
Their grievance has even prompted Mr Wakefield to film a ‘road movie’ highlighting the problem – which has received almost 200 views on YouTube.
As well as Mr and Mrs Wakefield’s car bill and damage to the wheel, they also had to fork out about £50 for bringing the case to court, plus other fees.
“In real terms it’s about £600,” said Mrs Wakefield.
“We’re not ambulance chasers but the state of Church Lane had been atrocious for months.
“What had happened had it been an old woman in an ambulance that had gone over that pothole?
“Standing up for a point of principle has cost us some money, but we’d do it all over again.”
The road has since been repaired.
A Worcestershire County Council spokesman said: “Once we had investigated Mr Wakefield’s claim we advised him we believed we had properly maintained the road in this case. Mr Wakefield did not accept this position and chose to exercise his rights to pursue a claim against the county council.
“A judge heard evidence from both parties and ruled in the council’s favour after it was able to show that it maintained the highway by way of a system of inspection and repair and so it had fulfilled its duties and obligations. Whilst we are sorry for the damage to Mr Wakefield’s vehicle, it is not appropriate for the county council to pay claims for which it has no legal liability.”
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