County pays out more than £50k in one year over pothole damage


West Sussex County Council paid more than £50,000 compensation last year to motorists whose cars were damaged by potholes.

The amount – £50,677.93 – was paid following 1,118 claims from drivers and was nearly double the compensation paid the previous year.

Some 524 motorists made claims in 2012, leading to £26,435 being paid. In 2011, 608 claims were made and £35,702 was given.

The figures were obtained via a Freedom of Information request.

The county council defended the figures and pointed blame at the bout of extreme weather which struck the county around this time last year.

A spokesman added that, while the number of claims had climbed, the average successful compensation claim value for pothole damage had dropped.

The average successful compensation claim value for pothole damage in 2011 was £58.72, while in 2013 it stood at £45.32.

With this year’s weather already being arguably worse than last year’s, the topic of potholes has been on the minds of many motorists.

On the Crawley Observer’s Facebook page, residents highlighted Haslett Avenue East, Maiden Lane, Stagelands and Coachmans Drive as being particularly problematic – while Lee Ahearn joked Pound Hill should be renamed Pot Hill.

Last year, the council repaired some 40,000 potholes.

A spokesman said: “West Sussex suffered badly from extreme weather, both wet and cold, during 2013.

“It had a significant impact on the deterioration of the road surfaces that year.

“At times last year we had 12 pothole patrol gangs on duty making the roads safe and between January and the end of July we fixed about 40,000 potholes.”

At the end of last year the council announced a £30million spending boost for road maintenance, mainly on the county’s network of unclassified roads.

The investment will figure in the county’s budget when it goes to a full council meeting later this month.