A RECORD number of complaints about potholes were made during the past 12 months, leading to Wiltshire Council paying out tens of thousands in compensation.

A report from the Federation of Small Businesses revealed that local authorities across the country receive a complaint to fix a pothole every 46 seconds and also showed that the South West had the fourth largest amount of complaints of any region in the country.

The figures revealed that Wiltshire Council received 4,001 complaints with the A345, which runs from Salisbury to Marlborough, receiving the biggest number of queries in the county.

The complaints led to a number of claims for compensation from people who had their vehicles damaged last year with the authority paying out nearly £37,000 after 181 successful complaints.

A spokesman from Wiltshire Council said: “We’re working incredibly hard to improve Wiltshire’s roads, however as a rural county, we look after more miles of roads than most. We are spending more on road maintenance than ever before, and over recent years we have seen the historic backlog being greatly reduced. We constantly monitor our roads so we can programme appropriate work to help improve their condition.

“Where there are local road issues we’d encourage people to report them using MyWilts and we will address these as quickly as possible.”

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, added: “Potholes are a major concern for the nation’s small businesses. Our members rely heavily on the local road network, with their staff, customers and trade deliveries, dependent on fast and efficient road networks.

“Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper their ability to do business, but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms often working without large capital reserves.

“These figures show just how widespread the issue is.”