Pothole accident in Kirkby puts foster carer's job in jeopardy

A pothole accident in Kirkby has left a full-time carer facing a large bill and worried that she won’t be able to do her job.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 2:48 pm
Foster carer Shelley Wheeldon inspects the damage to her car after a pothole accident in Kirkby.

Shelley Wheeldon 44, was driving along Mill Lane when clattering into a deep pothole that caused so much damage to her Range Rover that she had to call a friend to tow her and the vehicle back home on a low-loader trailer.

She estimates that repairs will cost at least £1,500. But when she contacted Nottinghamshire County Council’s highways department, they said her claim for compensation would take up to 90 days to investigate.

"That means if they accept liability for the damage, they won’t let me know for three months,” said Shelley, who lives on Nuncargate Road in Kirkby.

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The damage to a tyre and alloy wheel caused by the pothole.

"I will have to get the repairs done because I need the car for my job as a professional foster carer, and as a carer for my mum.

"But I can’t afford it. Just because I drive a Range Rover doesn’t mean I have lots of money.

"I found the council horrific to deal with. They showed no empathy. It was as if it was my fault.

"I can’t wait 90 days. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

The pothole on Mill Lane in Kirkby that caused the accident.

Shelley and husband, Andrew, 47, who works for Rolls-Royce, are currently looking after three children as foster carers.

But twice a week, she has to drive the youngsters to see their mum in Derby and bring them back again. While her car is out of action, she will have to order taxis.

“It shouldn’t be my responsibility to get the vehicle mended,” she said. “The state of the roads in the area is disgusting. There are potholes everywhere.

"I was just driving along at about 30mph when I heard a bang. I stopped, got out and saw that two tyres had been ripped and the alloy wheels damaged.

Another view of the damage caused to one of the wheels of Shelley's Range Rover.

"The pothole was huge and really deep, measuring from my elbow to the top of my hand. I couldn’t believe it.

"However, it wasn’t marked at all, so I got no prior warning.

"I posted photos of the pothole on Facebook, and a few people said they had noticed it the previous day.

"Within hours of my accident, the council had been out to repair it. But I am holding them liable for my accident.

"This is very serious, but when I spoke to them, it was as if they weren’t interested at all.”

For the county council, Gary Wood, head of highways and transport, said: “We inspect all roads across Nottinghamshire at least once a year, and our top priority is to keep our highways safe for all road users.

"Where potholes are found and meet our criteria for repair, our team will undertake a safety repair within 24 hours for the most urgent defects.

"Mill Lane in Kirkby is inspected quarterly and, following reports of potholes, an inspector visited the site on Wednesday, May 12 and made urgent repairs to two potholes.

"Following the inspection, further repairs to the road have been ordered.

"Potholes can develop quickly, and that is why we encourage residents and motorists to report them to us through our website (www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk), or through the MyNotts app.

"This resident’s claim, relating to the pothole, will be investigated in line with our policy.”