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REVEALED: The true cost of Rochdale pot-hole compensation claims!

February 8, 2017 6:46 PM

- RMBC spend nearly £2million on settling pot-hole compensation claims in just five years.

- They've spent £330,000 in the last eight months, and the total is rising this year.

- Lib Dems criticise 'complacent', 'misleading' Council.

David Clayton is campaigning to fix Kingsway's broken roadsIt can now be revealed that Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council have spent £1,909,637.49 on settling pot-hole compensation claims in the last five years. In just 8 months up until January, 11th this year, the Council have paid back a whopping £330,260.50. This flies in the face of claims by Mark Widdup, the council's director of neighbourhoods who stated in January: "In 2013, the council introduced a tougher policy on dealing with pothole compensation claims which dramatically cut the amount of money being paid out."
The figures were obtained by local Liberal Democrats who put in a Freedom of Information request. This follows a previous request that revealed the amount of money paid to motorists for pot-hole damage was £55,316.19. This figure is now dwarfed by the overall total and cost of other pot-hole claims. During 1st May 2012-30th April 2013, the Council paid out £385,823.59 on 98 claims, from 1st May 2014 - 30th April 2015 the Council paid out £360,395.71 on 52 claims and during 1st May 2015 - 30th April 2016 they paid £403,102.05 on 71 claims. From 1st May 2016 to 11th January this year, taxpayers have already paid out £330,026.50 on 38 claims. This means the figure could rocket to a record £400,000 plus for this year - flying in the face of claims that the compensation claims are being dramatically cut.
Local Lib Dem leader Councillor Andy Kelly said: "These figures are huge cause for concern - especially when senior officers at the council claim that the compensation claims are being 'dramatically' cut. The reality is the polar opposite. This year, the council are on record to smash their record payout in recent years. They are complacent and are at best misleading us and are not dealing with this growing problem. They claim to have spent over £10 million on our roads including spending £1,000,000 already this year. These figures do not reflect that and back up what the hundreds of residents a week we talk to tell us. The Council are failing local residents yet again."
Kingsway Campaigner and former councillor David Clayton said: "Long-suffering residents will be astonished at the amount of money being spent to settle compensation claims. In January this year, we revealed the amount of money they spent compensating motorists. The total figure paid for failing to deal with our broken roads and pavements is set to top £2,000,000 over five years and that is not acceptable. I walk the streets of Kingsway on a daily basis and don't see much evidence of investment."
Councillor Kelly added: "I think that Rochdale Borough Council should be more open and transparent over this issue. We have been forced to use Freedom of Information legislation to show that this is patently untrue. My office lodged the Freedom of Information request as we simply did not believe what the council were saying. Neil Emmott, the Labour Councillor in charge of Highways needs to get a grip. When we highlighted this issue last month, he responded with a mixture of tribalist, antagonistic and misleading rhetoric. This included claiming that I needed my 'bumps' feeling and the council were doing a good job. Instead of going on the attack, he needs to deal with this issue and actually justify the massive 34% pay increase he is just about to receive."
Pictured: David Clayton is campaigning to fix Kingsway's broken roads