BASILDON has officially been named as one of the biggest pothole hotspots in Essex after the town racked up some of the highest highways claims in the county.

New documents have revealed there were 2,585 claims made to Essex County Council for “vehicle damage” from drivers across the county between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024.

According to the documents, Basildon – alongside Epping Forest – was the area with the highest claims in 2021/22, as well as throughout 2022/23 and the first quarter of 2023/24.

Basildon councillor Kerry Smith, who has raised the issues around potholes in Basildon numerous times over the years, was not surprised by the number of claims.

He said: “Our roads are so bad. It is time to get rid of Essex County Council. We don’t them, but they need us. Break up the county council, it is a throwback to Victorian Times when the country had an empire.

“The county council is so out of date and out of step, it needs to go. We have such a big issue with potholes in Basildon. The county council prioritises other areas over Basildon.”

According to the documents, the number of pothole claims has rocketed after just 916 claims between April 2020 and March 2021. Despite thousands of claims being made over the last year, Essex County Council only paid out for 93, and denied almost 1,800 claims.

In the 2020/21 financial year, the council paid out £193,293 in vehicle damage claims, before it rose to £233,055.

In 2022/23, the council paid out £151,864 before a whopping £308,693 was paid out in the last year.

However, on average the council rejected 94 per cent of claims during that period.

Mr Smith added: “They probably just deny, deny, deny, and say they are defending the taxpayer’s money. Instead of arguing with residents, fix the potholes, then we won’t have these problems and claims.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “All compensation claims are investigated fully, and damages paid if the council has been liable.

“The majority of claims are successfully defended because we are rigorous in our maintenance of the network. Highways maintenance is a key priority and we continue to invest to allow Essex Highways to keep the roads moving safely.”