If Croydon Council, with its high-finance pipe-dreams for social engineering, really wants to attract high-rollers to its high-rise, high-cost apartments in the centre of town, then it needs to do some serious work on the state of its roads, otherwise more angry Ferrari-owners like Peter Slack will be submitting huge bills to the Town Hall for repairs or compensation.
More than a month after suffering serious damage to his hot-red sports car after an encounter with one of Croydon’s crater-ridden roads in Park Hill, Slack, a successful movie producer, has yet to hear from the council after he submitted a compensation claim for £1,201.24 for two replacement tyres and an alloy wheel.
“My road tax is £475 a year, so I don’t expect to pick up a £1,200 bill when I use the roads through lack of maintenance,” Slack said.
Croydon is known as “the Pothole Capital of London”. Our council is at the top of a league table of shame for having paid more compensation to car owners for damage caused by our ill-maintained roads than any other London borough. In two years from 2010, Croydon paid £30,831 for damage caused to vehicles by roads in poor repair.
According to Croydon Council, it spent £7 million on road repairs in 2010-2011 (a year when its income from residents’ parking permits was more than £9 million; permit fees have since been hiked by 50 per cent) and 2011-2012 and says that it will have spent close to £40 million on road repairs by 2015.
Trouble is, there’s little evidence of any such work having been conducted on Park Hill Road, where Slack’s Ferrari had its incident on October 25.
Slack is itching to take Croydon Council to the small claims court to get his compensation, not least because when he did a check on the state of Park Hill Road on Google Maps, it was clear that the potholes he’d encountered had existed at least since May this year.
Slack’s photos shows some yellow paint on the road surface, highlighting the presence of the hole, suggesting that council contractors had identified the site for repair.
A Ferrari-driving movie producer who runs eight companies may not cut the most sympathetic case ever reviewed by Inside Croydon, but as Slack points out, unmaintained roads are not only costing Croydon Council Tax-payers tens of thousands of pounds in compensation to road users: the pot-marked roads are a danger to all road-users, cyclists and pedestrians.
“I will be suing the council for only the damage I had to pay for,” Slack told Inside Croydon. “I haven’t included any time, loss of use of the car whilst off the road etc. It is the minimum I will accept.
“Ferraris have to be driven very carefully in the UK as our roads are littered with pot holes, unlike everywhere else I have taken the car in Europe, which have perfectly maintained roads and very smooth to drive.
“I am more aware than most drivers to avoid pot holes. My pictures don’t really accentuate the depth of the hole, I should have taken the leaves out of the hole as you can see it has gone through two layers of asphalt. The holes also existed in the Google pictures taken in May 2012.
“The problem is how do you swerve three or four potholes littered across a road surface in school rush hour? It is a danger not only to damage to the car, but more importantly if the alloy had split and broken it could cause the car to mount a kerb and God forbid injure someone,” Slack said.
“The council need to get their act together and look at the safety aspect of what they are doing instead of the money they can spend on campaigns to get themselves elected. Maybe when these claims keep rolling in eventually somebody will question why they have paid out so much in damage claims.”
Until such improvements take place, it all sound too much like Croydon’s road maintenance is in the hands of Bernard Cribbins.
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