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£1.2million bill to cover your pothole claims in Basildon
3:00pm Wednesday 12th February 2014 in News
BASILDON’S crumbling roads have cost County Hall £1.2million after hundreds of claims were made against them, statistics show.
The latest figures, released after a request under the Freedom of Information Act, show between 2008 and 2012, claims made because of damage to people or vehicles resulted in Essex County Council paying out the eye-watering sum.
It comes after transport bosses vowed last week to plough £4.8million into fixing the county’s roads in its budget for 2014/15.
Taxi driver Ralph Morgan, spokesman for the Basildon Hackney Carriage Association, said: “The issue is the county council just does makeshift repairs and then they crumble again six months down the line.
“It is disgusting. If the council does the works itself they seem to hold up much better than when their contractors do the work.”
The majority of the 309 successful claims in Basildon were down to vehicle damage.
However, County Hall said 85 per cent of claims it received were successfully defended.
In 2009, there were 124 Basildon claims against the authority, resulting in a payout of £620,778.
Residents have also bemoaned the poor state of the borough’s pothole-ridden roads.
Chrsitina Elsey, of Holden Gardens, Basildon, said: “There is a huge pothole outside my son’s house in Methersgate, and it is a good foot wide and deep.
“It goes across the whole road and has been there since Christmas, but we’ve contacted the council to no avail.”
The second highest place for payouts because of poor roads in Essex was Epping Forest – with the council having to shell out more than £800,000.
The figure is dwarfed by payouts in Basildon, which total £1,210,327.
The majority of these claims are thought to be due to potholes.
Essex County Council has a specific pot of cash to handle payouts.
A spokesman said: “Keeping roads and footpaths to the standard that Essex residents expect is a top priority.
“There is currently an extensive programme of works being carried out to maintain and enhance the network and over the four year period commencing 2013-14 we will be spending £180million on highwaysmaintenance, including an additional £35million investment.”