Driver left in limbo as authorities deny ownership of pothole damaged road

The potholes that caused the damage to Mr Smout's car 

The potholes that caused the damage to Mr Smout's car - Credit: Gary Smout

A Suffolk man has said he has been left with nowhere to turn after he was left with a £165 bill caused by a pothole. 

Gary Smout from Elmswell had just left the A14 southbound on his way home one night in late March when he hit a pothole on the offslip road at junction 47.

"It frightened the absolute life out of me," said Mr Smout. 

"It blew the tyre to smithereens.

"I know that road I drive it every day." 

Gary Smout has been left frustrated by the potholes 

Gary Smout has been left frustrated by authorities over the pothole issues - Credit: Gary Smout


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Mr Smout was forced to slowly drive the car to a nearby garage for repairs. He had only had the car for three weeks. 

His car required a new tyre at a cost of £165. 

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Claims can be made against authorities if pothole that have not been managed properly have caused damage to cars. 

Mr Smout applied to Suffolk Highways only to be told it was a road managed by Highways England. 

Highways England denied this and said it was a Suffolk Highways managed road. 

Mr Smout said he understood if the authorities were unable to reimburse him but was frustrated by the lack of clarity over the responsibility for the road. 

"It's dangerous," said Mr Smout.

"I only hit it at 45mph."

Three potholes on the road were reported to Suffolk Highways in April but the case was closed as the authority said it was not on a road maintained by them. 

Highways England has also denied responsibility for the area of road as it believes it falls outside the boundary that it covers. 

A spokesman for Highways England said: "Highways England records show that our maintenance boundaries end at the end of the slip road, and the incident in question took place past that boundary.

"We are continuing to work closely with Suffolk Highways to cross examine the information from both departments to determine if there’s an overlap or an area of omission, and then establish options moving forward.

"We hope to find a reasonable solution soon that will satisfy all parties."

A spokesman for Suffolk Highways said: “We are working with Highways England to determine the ownership of this location, as there appears to be a cross over on our systems. As soon as this has been agreed, we will be in contact with the customer to clarify our findings and next steps.”

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