A council in the south of England has paid almost £1million in compensation to those making public liability claims over the last five years.
Hampshire County Council faced having to pay huge sums of money to people injured on faulty, defective and damaged pavements between the years of 2004 and 2009.
276 claims for compensation were made overall, with 66 of these in 2009. Last year alone saw £232,863 paid to 66 claimants of accidents in the county. The exact five year sum stood at £997,067.
The Council decided last autumn to put £5.5million aside to repair the County’s highways, with over £4million of this specifically going on pavements. This was a decision welcomed by Liberal Democrat Councillor Ron Hussey, who said: “What good is compensation for the discomfort and pain? The solution is not compensation, but to fix the roads – to have bigger budgets.”
Mr Hussey also stated how he believed that many people didn’t even bother to make claims for compensation, despite suffering injuries on pavements that were in need of repair.
He added: “The £1million compensation is the tip of the iceberg of the number who have hurt themselves.”
Despite the amount of injuries, over £28million was spent on footpaths over the five-year period described. With £4million planned for the coming year, it would be difficult to suggest that pavement maintenance is an issue that the council are ignoring.
Hampshire County Councillor Mel Kendal said: “Our resources are not unlimited. Of course, we would like to have more money to spend on highways upkeep, to prevent defects, but the funds available from council tax and the Government Grant have to pay for all our services, from care for the elderly to transporting children to schools.”