Pothole fine of £250,000

Potholes cause injuries, but we too often treat them as “the norm”. During various site assessments, I have raised issues such as the one described below on numerous occasions. Some clients respond and deal with the matter (which seems sensible as they asked for the advice). Some choose to ignore it and occasionally deride the narrative (because they don’t like the message).

Pothole fine – In a recent case, Fareham Borough Council successfully prosecuted One Stop Ltd after a customer tripped over on a pothole on the forecourt last year and sustained serious injuries at the shop on Warsash Road in Warsash. A District Judge at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court handed down the judgement along with a £250,000 fine and One Stop were also ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £3700.

Opportunities to address this issue were not taken

The ensuing accident investigation carried out by Environmental Health Officers revealed a catalogue of missed opportunities to repair the pothole on the forecourt before the accident which has since been completely resurfaced. During his judgment, the District Judge said that he couldn’t overlook the fact this was not an isolated occurrence. The pothole had been reported to the One Stop Ltd on a number of occasions, and they failed to repair it. This failure meant that by the day of the accident the pothole was of a significant size.

Executive Member for Health and Public Protection, Cllr Cartwright said:

This was a very sad case that resulted in life-changing injuries. ‘I really do hope that this judgement sends a firm signal that this Council will deal robustly where serious health and safety failures are not dealt with in a timely manner.

Pothole fine was avoidable – and so were the injuries suffered.

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