FOUR out of five five claims by frustrated East Ayrshire motorists for damage caused by the state of the area’s crumbling roads were knocked back by council bosses – as reports of potholes in the area have soared.

The Chronicle can reveal that 323 angry drivers put in compensation claims to East Ayrshire Council (EAC) after seeing their vehicles damaged by potholes during the three years from 2019 to 2021.

Only 70 of those claims resulted in payouts.

And while the number of pothole faults reported in local roads has soared by 70 per cent over those three years, so too has the number of compensation claims from drivers t knocked back by officials.

The detail appears in figures released following a ‘freedom of information’ request from the Chronicle as we sought to find out the scale of the pothole problem in the area.

We asked EAC how many potholes had been reported in the area in each of those three years, how many had been fixed, how many compensation claims were made, and how much had been paid out.

According to the answers provided by the authority, between 2019-2021, East Ayrshire Council paid out £32,028.03 in pothole-inflicted compensation claims.

This number was broken down into £19,136.49 for 2019, £7,526.24 for 2020 and £5,365.30 for 2021.

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In total, 28 compensation claims resulted in payouts in 2019, while there were 25 in 2020 and 17 in 2021 – a fall of 39 per cent.

In contrast, 253 pothole compensation claims were rejected by the council during this three-year period, with 74 coming in 2019, 83 in 2020 and 96 in 2021 – a 30 per cent rise.

According to the data released by EAC, 1,918 pothole faults were reported in 2019.

But that figure grew to 2,539 in 2020, and jumped again to 3,256 in 2021.

A total of 6,120 pothole repairs were carried out during the three-year period, with most repairs coming in 2021.

East Ayrshire Council says that it records fault reports about potholes which are not always about individual potholes, and that “these reports may, for example, relate to potholes at one or several locations and also several customers reporting the same pothole”.

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The council says that pothole repair work instructions are raised either after fault reports from members of the public are inspected, or following a scheduled safety inspection.

In 2019, the two most reported roads in Cumnock were Wylie Crescent and Muirkirk Road, each of them with seven faults.

The Holm and Rigg Road had four faults reported each.

Barshare Road had the most faults in 2020, with seven reports, while Carsgailoch Road and Muirkirk Road had six apiece.

Muirkirk Road featured out in front on its own for the 2021 statistics, with 16 complaints made about the road.

Cairnscadden Road, Holmburn Road and Holmhead Road all had seven complaints made about the state of the road surface in the same year.

South Scotland MSP, Sharon Dowey said work needs to be done to solve this issue.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party representative said: "The number of compensation claims confirms that potholes are blighting our roads and costing motorists a fortune.

"The SNP Government must deliver more funding to allow councils to fix potholes and improve roads across Ayrshire."

Fellow Ayrshire MSP, Kenneth Gibson refuted these claims, saying that the Scottish Government's hands are tied with how much cash can be made available.

The SNP said: “The Tories have some nerve to hark on about potholes, when their own record on roads is abysmal, with research showing potholes across multiple councils in England take up to 18 months to get fixed.

“There is no denying that local councils face a great challenge in delivering services amid a bleak economic climate of Tory creation, and while the Scottish Government has already built flexibility and autonomy into how budgets can be spent, the current economic climate and restrictions of devolution means that the Scottish Government will always be limited in its ability to fulfil council’s funding asks, no matter how much it wants to.”

East Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government have also been approached for comment.