Pothole compensation payouts in Northamptonshire doubled in 2017

Potholes currently reported to the Street Doctor service
Potholes currently reported to the Street Doctor service

Compensation payouts for damage caused by potholes in the county has almost doubled, new figures reveal.

Northamptonshire County Council paid out a total of £35,723.86 in 2017 to drivers who had reported damage to their vehicles caused by potholes which the council was aware of but had not yet repaired.

This compares to a total payout of £19,501.41 for 2016.

The number of claims also nearly doubled last year too. In 2016 there were 460 claims, rising to 832 in 2017.

And the proportion of claims which succeeded last year is significantly up on the previous 12 months too (from 12 per cent to 17 per cent), suggesting the council is struggling to keep up with the volume of work needed to repair our road surfaces.

That volume of work can be seen on the map, above, which shows how many calls the council’s Street Doctor service is currently dealing with.

National campaigner Mr Pothole, aka Brackley deputy mayor Mark Morrell, said: “I’m not surprised by the figures.

“I’ve been contacted by a few people recently about the A422 at Farthinghoe – one woman’s car suffered £1,300 in damage.

“At the minute I have got no faith in Northamptonshire County Council Highways doing anything.”

He thinks the total paid out this year could be ten times 2016’s amount, meaning successful compensation claims to the tune of almost £200,000.

He said: “I’m looking at the amount of pothole reports on social media and this weekend was one of the worst weekends of pothole damage reports I’ve seen.

“In Northamptonshire I’m getting lots of complaints.”

He also said he had been told by the Tyre Warehouse in Brackley that they’d seen a 600 per cent increase in tyre damage, and that they had been repairing and replacing six or seven tyres every day for six days a week.

New figures from the county council show the authority has been repairing more potholes than this time last year.

Last month it filled in 1,318 category one potholes, compared to 914 in March last year.

In February 1,593 potholes were repaired, up from 651 in the same month in 2017, and in January this year 876 defects were fixed, about three times more than the 291 repairs carried out in January 2017.

Thousands of category two potholes have also been repaired this winter – 3,153 in March, 1,416 in February and 2,328 in January.

This compares to 2,502 in March last year, 2,481 in February and 1,576 in January.

A county council spokesman said: “We have completed all the category one potholes and about half of the category two potholes, which we have up to four months to repair.

“Additionally two Roadmaster machines started on the contract last week and are repairing about 400 potholes per day, with another 300 potholes repaired daily by the out of hours emergency response crew.”