THE NUMBER of damage claims in Solihull has doubled since last year even though the council claims there are fewer potholes – sparking debate about the condition of the borough’s roads.
Solihull council figures show it has received 270 compensation claims from road users due to potholes already in 2017/18.
Council figures show only 139 claims were lodged in 2016/17 and 131 for 2015/16.
A total of 58 road users have received compensation for claims so far this year – only around 20 per cent of claims.
The figures were heard during a full council meeting last week, where Green councillor Max McLoughlin (Shirley) questioned the council’s record on roads, with taxpayers’ money having to be spent on compensation.
Coun McLoughlin told us: “Anyone who has used Solihull roads over recent years will see how much they have worsened.
“I’m appalled that the cabinet member says ‘what a good job we’re doing’.
“The council clearly didn’t take the condition of our roads seriously enough as they only filled the same number of holes last year as the year before.
“I know many residents that gave up on reporting potholes when they weren’t getting filled.
“It took me four months to get one problem hole in Shirley filled.”
But portfolio holder councillor Ted Richards, cabinet portfolio holder for transport and highways, claimed the council could show a significant drop in rates of potholes.
He said there was a record high of 3,609 potholes in 2011/12 and there was 1,721 in 2015/16, 579 in 2016/17 and 588 in 2017/18.
He said: “We had a particularly tough winter period with extreme weather conditions which are well-known to make road conditions worse.
“The council carries out regular inspections of the road surfaces in line with national guidelines and recently established a ‘find and fix’ gang to treat potholes as quickly as possible.
“Since April, we have also had additional funding – £300,000 – to resurface and patch the worst areas of road.
“We have carried out extensive resurfacing works across the borough to prevent the formation of potholes in failing road surfaces and are committed to keeping our roads safe.”
As we reported in April, Solihull is among the 13 local authorities out of 151 which saw an increase in the proportion of its road network considered inadequate since 2009, BBC data shows.
It is one of only five local authorities to register a rise (of two per cent) from 2009 to last year in the length of ‘A’ roads which need maintenance – five per cent (54km) of the total A road network in the borough.