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Mail reveals county's most pothole-plagued roads
Cllr Jean Fooks alongside a pothole at Carfax Tower in Oxford city centre, the third-worst location for compensation claims
THE most pothole-riddled roads in the county are revealed today.
Figures uncovered by the Oxford Mail show the places where drivers made the most claims for compensation for pothole damage.
The A417, which runs through Wantage, has had the most claims over the past four years with 30 payouts for damage.
The B4044 between Cumnor and Eynsham is close behind with 29 people claiming for damage to their vehicles.
The figures, released through a Freedom of Information request, show that Oxford, Wheatley and Abingdon are the next most likely places for seeing a pothole in the county.
Matthew Benson, whose car was damaged when he hit a pothole on the B480 near Chalgrove, said: “The online reporting system wasn’t available when it happened to me.
“It cost me £500 when I hit that pothole. Now, whenever I can, I report a pothole. “I think the council are fair game for compensation as it is their responsibility to look after the roads.”
Officials insist they are taking steps to reduce the payouts.
In the last financial year, Oxfordshire County Council spent £2.959m on repairing road defects – an increase from £1.748m the year before.
And the amount of money the council has paid out across the past four years has decreased.
In 2010 there were 440 successful claims for damage to cars to a total of £137,247, and so far this financial year there have been just 69, costing £14,105.
In total, more than £313,000 was paid to drivers for 862 incidents that occurred between 2010 and 2013.
Environment cabinet member David Nimmo Smith said since January this year the council has filled 50,000 potholes.
Mr Nimmo Smith said: “If somebody comes to us with a claim for compensation and the spot where the pothole is hasn’t been officially reported to us, then we aren’t liable.
“I would always encourage people to report potholes to us, even though it can put us in a catch-22 type situation because it means we may have to pay out more compensation.”
But there are concerns about the effectiveness of pothole-fillers.
Jean Fooks, Liberal Democrat group leader at Oxford City Council, has spoken out about the dangers of potholes before.
She said: “I am not sure whether they are still able to keep up with filling them all and many are not filled adequately if you ask me.”
Wantage Charlton ward councillor Charlotte Dickson said: “Potholes are a massive issue. I appreciate we have had quite extreme weather.
“But the issue to me seems to be that the potholes don’t seem to be filled properly. “They don’t last and my big concern is for cyclists who are vulnerable on the road.”
“I have seen potholes being filled outside my house and it does seem to be done in a very slapdash and haphazard way.”
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