THE wettest January on record is behind the rise in the number of potholes and lack of repairs in south Essex, a councillor has said.

Tony Cox, Southend councillor for highways, struck a downbeat note on the council’s ability to keep up with the mounting repairs after torrential downpours exacerbated the problem last month – and there is no let-up in sight.

He said: “We’ve noticed an increase lately and it’s down to the recent bad weather.

“It’s been the wettest January on record nationally and, when they measured it in Shoebury, they found it had rained near enough every day in January.

“It does take a toll on the roads, but we are reliant on dry weather to repair them.

“I urge everyone to keep reporting potholes though because, if they’re dangerous and large, we will do all we can to make them safe.”

Figures released by Essex County Council revealed thousands of potholes are waiting to be repaired. Between September and December 2013, there were 1,639 examples recorded in Basildon, 1,105 in Castle Point and 848 in Rochford.

This represents an increase of almost 300 in Basildon, 284 on priority roads in Castle Point and 238 in Rochford, in the past three months.

Essex County Council highways councillor Rodney Bass remained optimistic, saying he believed the number of potholes had “peaked” and the council had “turned a corner”.

Barry Baker, 42, of The Hatherley, Basildon, is suing the county council after his windscreen cracked and a tyre punctured when he hit a pothole in Atridge Chase, Billericay, in December. He said: “It’s disgusting the roads are allowed to get into this state. We haven’t even had a harsh winter yet. We need longterm repairs and we need them now.”

Potholes in Southend can be reported by calling 01702 215003 or e-mailing council@southend. Alternatively, fill in the online ‘Problems with Public Highways’ form on www. Potholes in Basildon can be reported by calling 01268 294949 or by e-mailing streetcare@ To report potholes to Essex County Council, visit www.