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Local Democracy Reporter
Compensation payments to drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes in 2018 have cost West Sussex County Council more than £30,000 so far, with another £11,000 likely to follow.
The figures were published in a report detailing the complaints and compliments received by the council that year, which was discussed by members of the standards committee last Friday.
So far, the council has received 1,186 claims for the year and has closed or settled 740 of them, paying 81 people a total of £30,678.94.
Offers totalling £11,777.49 have been made to another 34 claimants.
The report said that in 2017 there had been 494 claims, 478 of which were closed or settled, with payments of £47,351.24 made to 110 people.
The pothole complaints were not included in the general list of complaints made to the council, which rose by more than 20% between 2017 and 2018 – from 659 to 812. One-third of them were upheld.
Three-quarters of all complaints related to adult social care, children’s social care and highways.
With the number of complaints about children’s services increasing "significantly" from 166 to 208, the Conservative councillor for Worthing East, Roger Oakley, asked if there was any link with the current "failings" in the service.
He was told that it was "difficult to say" but officers would "not be surprised" if that was the case.
On the plus side, the total number of compliments rose from 4,065 in 2017 to 5,211 in 2018.
East Sussex Highways is deploying a fleet of three Roadmaster machines to repair potholes, cracks and other defects on the county's roads.
The hi-tech machinery will blast high pressure air into the holes before they are then quickly filled with a mixture of bitumen and fine stone and grit.
The scheme begins this week in Burwash, Battle and Blackboys, with other areas set to benefit during the three-month programme including Bexhill, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Lewes and Seaford.
Councillor Claire Dowling, of East Sussex County Council, said the Roadmasters were "far quicker and more cost-effective than traditional methods" and caused less disruption and congestion.