A MAN was left with a £100 bill to fix his car after it plummeted into a hole as he parked up to watch his grandson play football.

David Bowes, from West Auckland, had gone to watch his grandson play football for Spennymoor Juniors at Tudhoe Moor playing fields.

Mr Bowes was driving to search for a parking spot on the nearby field, which is often used for parking by guests and players, when suddenly his car dropped into a hole and became lodged.

Another visitor managed to tow the car out, but the car sustained about £100 worth of damage from the unexpected drop.

The incident happened last April but Mr Bowes recently contacted The Northern Echo after becoming frustrated that protracted talks with landowners Durham County Council and Spennymoor Town FC, which has a licence to use the site, failed to see either accept responsibility.

The club has been working closely with the council to improve parking on site.

Mr Bowes, 71, said: “There must have been about 80 other cars, so it wasn’t only me who parked there.

“After ringing the council they informed me that I should have parked in a small car park nearby, but that site only has six or ten spaces.

“When there are hundreds of people going to the football, a car park of that size isn’t big enough, which is why everyone regularly parks on the field.

“It’s not about the cost – I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“The hole was in a public area and my grandson could have fallen in and broken his leg.”

The Northern Echo: The council informed Mr Bowes that the blue section of this plan was the only area that should be used for parkingThe council informed Mr Bowes that the blue section of this plan was the only area that should be used for parking

Last year the council emailed Mr Bowes confirming that ground investigations had been carried out on the site in January 2019 and that every bore hole created had been filled in correctly, which was confirmed in a further visit the following month.

He was told he should not have parked in that area.

Susan Robinson, Durham County Council’s head of corporate property and land, said: “While we own this field, we allow a local sports club to use it at designated times.

“As part of a licence agreement with the club, it is their responsibility for ensuring vehicles using the field adhere to the areas allocated for parking between these times, and for any public liability claims relating to these periods.

“Mr Bowes’ claim relates to such a period and while we sympathise with his situation, we have advised him he needs to pursue it with the club.”

Adam Brown, director at Spennymoor Town FC, said: “The club is aware of the damage to Mr Bowes’ car and we have supported him to complete his insurance claim with information and photographs.

“This incident is isolated. The channel that Mr Bowes’ wheel fell in was quickly filled by the council.

“There are regularly up to 100 cars parked safely on the site with adequate space.

“In an ideal world, the club would have a fully-tarmacked car park.

“We are making positive strides on this front and are working closely with the county council to deliver improvements to our facilities for the benefit of all of the young people in our academy and their families.”