May 23 2013 Latest news:
Lee-Ann Richards, Reporter
Friday, December 7, 2012
Havering Council has paid out more than £400,000 in the last three years for people tripping on footways and carriageways.
It was revealed at a recent full council meeting after a question raised by Hornchurch Councillor Ray Morgan (RA,Hacton).
The figures show that from 2009 to 2011, there were 313 claims against trips on the footway and carriageway.
However, just 19 claims were successful paying out compensation of some £402,000 - averaging just over £21,000 per claim.
Cllr Morgan said: “As a councillor, the most complaints I receive are from residents tripping and falling on footways and carriageways.
“For me it is a massive waste of money for taxpayers and it must also cause lots of pain for the victims.”
It was also revealed that from 2009 to 2011, claims for damage to vehicles caused by defective carriageways amounted to 400 over the three year period, with 51 claims paid out totalling £18,800 - averaging £370 per claim.
Claims for damages to property from highway trees saw 116 claims submitted with 36 being agreed.
The total paid out was £81,000 - averaging £2,250 per claim.
Last year, the council announced that Havering will benefit from an additional £323,000 to deal with pot holes.
The funds formed part of the £200 million set aside by the government to tackle the problem across the country.
Cllr Morgan said that the council needed to do more to fix the footways and carriageways.
He said: “It really isn’t good enough, I think it is a case of investing now and saving money.
“We need to ensure that our roads and footways are in the best possible condition so that we can spend the £400,000 on more important things.”
Cllr Barry Tebbutt, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Havering takes great pride and care in its roads and footpaths.
“We have an exemplary record in safety, and of the 313 claims made against us for trips on footpaths and highways between 2009 and 2011, only 19 have been held to be the Council’s responsibility.
“When we hear of an accident, an officer is sent as soon as possible to the site to make a proper assessment of the risk.
“We would then repair any actionable defect within timescales that depend on its nature and location, for example we would aim to repair a defect on a main road within 24 hours. We do not leave a dangerous situation unattended.”