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Inverness man slams Highland Council over pothole damage compensation rejection

By Philip Murray

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The collapsed/sunken drain.
The collapsed/sunken drain.

A FURIOUS motorist who says his car suffered hundreds of pounds worth of damage thanks to a pothole in Inverness is taking his dispute with Highland Council to the small claims court.

Dean Morrison says his car hit a pothole, or collapsed drain, while trying to pass a mobile crane which was taking up part of the lane in Leachkin Road, Westercraigs.

The damage caused cost £500 to repair and he said it left his vehicle off the road for a "prolonged period".

But despite flagging the issue with Highland Council to claim the damages, he says he was fobbed off, claiming the council's roads team insisted there was nothing wrong with the road. His claim for damages was rejected.

And, in an infuriating twist, he says despite that insistence that the council was not at fault, he returned to the spot a few days later to find the pothole had been repaired.

The damage done to the car's alloy wheel.
The damage done to the car's alloy wheel.

He is now questioning why the council insisted there was nothing wrong with the road, if it then deemed it necessary to repair it. He also hit out at what he claims was a lack of an appeals process.

"[The pothole] caused a crack on my alloy wheel and subsequent low pressure alarm to come in on my rear passenger side wheel," explained Dean. "After assessing the damage, I contacted the Highland Council to make a claim. I submitted my claim as part of their procedures, including photos, and an exact location from google maps."

"After a prolonged period... I received a letter from the Highland Council roads department. In the letter, the council confirmed that they had inspected the road and found that there were no issues identified."

"On the letter, there was a direct phone number to contact the roads team, which I was previously unable to do. I spoke with one of the road inspectors who on several occasions during the heated phone call, insulted me, saying I was 'stupid' or that I had deliberately struck the pothole.

"He then further repeated that there was nothing wrong with the road. Even though there 'wasn't anything wrong with the road' he admitted during the call that they had plans to resurface the road."

The collapsed/sunken drain.
The collapsed/sunken drain.

He continued: "I was away with work recently, and when I arrived home, I found that the pothole 'that wasn't a pothole' on a road that 'wasn't damaged' according to the road inspectors, had been magically repaired."

Mr Morrison believes the council has bluffed its way out of paying for the damage, and added: "I can only wonder how many other motorists in the Highlands suffer the same treatment."

Highland Council said it would not be "appropriate" to comment on individual cases, but stressed that there is an appeals process.

They added: "We refer people to our factsheet on pot holes that is on our website www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/20457/pothole_factsheet"

The repaired drain.
The repaired drain.

They continued: "We also have a complaints process [for] anyone wishing to make a complaint using our online form or email – complaints@highland.gov.uk"

The spokesperson also highlighted a range of planned repair works for the 2023/24 financial year which were approved by councillors in Inverness in February. This list included Leachkin Road, where the pothole repair was carried out after Mr Morrison's incident.

Related: Is this the biggest pothole in Inverness?

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