MORE than £1 million of taxpayers’ cash has been paid out in compensation to Hampshire motorists due to potholes, it has been revealed.

The majority of this total came from Hampshire County Council, which shelled out £891,847 between 2013 and 2017 to cover damage to vehicles and injuries.

This includes £113,568 to cyclists alone.

Winchester woman Janet Smith, pictured, was cycling with her husband Richard in Winchester, when she was forced to the edge of the road by a passing car and hit a pothole.

She lost control and suffered concussion, severe cuts and bruises to her knees, elbows and face, and knocked her two top teeth out.

She needed 15 stitches to the inside and outside of her mouth, and was in hospital for two days.

The damage to her teeth has left her with £3,000 in dental fees.

Mrs Smith has not sued the county council.

The authority’s most expensive year was 2015 when it spent £361,821, with its cheapest year coming last year spending £58,483.

It also splashed out £218,031 in legal costs defending claims.

Southampton City Council was found to have spent a combined £168,424 in the same period.

In total, both authorities spent £1.27m on compensation and legal costs.

The figures were unearthed through Freedom of Information requests submitted by Cycling UK, which runs Fill That Hole, a pothole reporting app.

Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s senior campaigns officer, said: “Cycling UK’s research has shown the true cost is a human one as people cycling are suffering from personal injury and in the worst cases even dying.

“The government should concentrate on fixing the underlying problems of our current local roads network before building new ones.”

Nationally it found that councils spent £43.4 million in five years, with each authority incurring an average of £277,707, which is almost a third of what HCC shelled out.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “Because Hampshire is one of the largest counties with many more miles of road to look after than most, it is inevitable that the number of pothole claims is larger than those in a smaller authority.

“A better comparison would be to look at the number of claims per 100 miles of highways where Hampshire compares very favourably with others in the South East and England generally.

“We note that not all authorities provided information in response to the request, and those that use insurance companies to handle their claims may also not be in a position to provide comprehensive compensation information.

“Hampshire County Council remains committed to providing well maintained roads, and to minimising pothole numbers, always looking for efficient, value for money and innovative ways to look after Hampshire’s roads.”

Southampton City Council did not respond to a request for comment.

It comes just days after the government pledged an extra £3 million to HCC to help mend damaged roads. Nearly £200,000 was also given to Southampton City Council.

The cash from central government will go towards filling in potholes and repairing damage from the “Beast from the East”.