The number of insurance claims made against Solihull Council for pothole damage nearly doubled last year, figures have shown.
It was revealed that 270 claims were made by motorists over 2017/18, compared with just 139 the year before and 131 the year before that.
The claims have cost the council £35,000, the portfolio holder for transport and highways said, the same figure as the previous year.
Only 58 of the 270 claims have so far been paid out.
Responding to a question from Green Party councillor Max McLoughlin regarding the issue of potholes over the past three years, Cllr Ted Richards said: “Over recent years, my officers have adopted a preventative asset management approach, investing significant sums in road surfacing.
“This has driven down the number of potholes appearing each year, from a high of 3,609 in 2011/12.
“For the last three years, the number of potholes we’ve identified and repaired were 1,171 in 2015/16, 579 in 2016/17, and 588 in 2017/18. Our teams have not recovered from the winter situation, and are carrying out more surfacing and patching work to minimise future potholes.
“The insurance claims for the same period were 131, 139 and 270 respectively. This increase has been attributed to the extreme winter conditions experienced across the country.
“Twenty-five claims were settled in 2015/16, valued at £32,000, 59 in 2016/17, valued at £35,000, and 58 in 2017/18, valued at £35,000.
“Claim numbers show Solihull is a high performing highway authority, as the average local authority numbers of claims received for damage or injury is 284.”
Responding to these figures, Cllr McLoughlin said that savings being made by the council were often just passed on to residents, calling it a ‘false economy’.
And he even questioned the validity of some of the figures provided by the council.
“So, I know the numbers that you have don’t necessarily tie in with some of the numbers that I have, and also I appreciate that some additional money has been made available from central government,” he said.
“But this is something that looks like a false economy.
“Because we’re pushing a saving from ourselves on to the residents of the borough in relation to damages, either to their vehicles or to themselves.
“Do you feel this is appropriate?”
However, Cllr Richards was quick to shoot down Cllr McLoughlin’s claims regarding figures, insisting that the authority was recognised across the country as one of the best in regards to highways maintenance.
“I think it’s quite irresponsible for you to make accusations of that nature,” he said.
“Equally I think it is quite irresponsible of you to challenge the official figures of the authority.
“I’d also remind you councillor that we are a good and responsible authority, recognised throughout the whole of transport and highways throughout this country, as to what a good job we’re doing as a transport authority, and I will continue to do so.”