A driver is furious after his car was nearly written off in a collision with a pothole, and the council lost his claim for compensation.

Lloyd Butler, of Ivy Chimneys Road in Epping, was driving towards along England’s Lane towards Debden, when his car struck the water filled hole.

His wheel was destroyed along with a shock absorber and a tyre rod, but he was more shocked by the response of Essex County Council.

The 34 year-old manager of a builder’s merchants said: “I think it is disgusting.

“The system is awful, I phoned up to find out how my application was going and they said that they had no record of it.

“I had to do it all again and now they tell me that a decision could take up to three months.

Mr Butler said that roads in the district are being neglected by the council, and that it is reluctant to take responsibility for the problems.

He added: “I just have not got £1,000 to pay out. The council should be looking after the roads, a pothole that big does not just come overnight.

“They said that I should have swerved to avoid it but there was a car coming the other way.

“Should I have killed us both to avoid a pothole?

“I was also told that I should have been looking at the road, but the hole was full of water. It wasn’t until I went back the next day that I saw just how big the hole is.”

A spokesman for the council said that twelve separate potholes have been identified and filled by its highways inspectors in England’s Lane in the last year, and six have been reported by the public.

He refused to discuss Mr Butler’s claim but added: “All compensation claims are investigated fully, and costs are only paid if the council feels it would be held liable in court for having breached its statutory duties as the highway authority to maintain the highway.

“All claims are given the same legal consideration, whether the claim is for minor damage to a vehicle or for personal injury.”