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'Incompetent and negligent' - Shrewsbury business owner calls for snow compensation from Shropshire Council

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Businesses could demand compensation from Shropshire Council for a loss of trade due to the snow.

Mike Avery outside the Cromwells Bar and Restaurant on Dogpole

One of those concerned is Mike Avery, owner of Cromwells restaurant and hotel in Shrewsbury, who claims he lost £6,000 over the snowy weekend.

He said guests and diners cancelled reservations due to the adverse weather conditions –many blaming icy streets and pavements.

Snow in the Quarry, Shrewsbury, earlier this month

Mr Avery says the council breached its regulations in ensuring the streets and footpaths were cleared of snow and passable for pedestrians and cars.

He approached the council with his complaint and was initially told that the authority had done all it could to ensure the roads and pathways were clear. But after continuing to contact officials he was this week told that the authority would now consider his claim. And he is urging other businesses who lost trade to pursue a claim.

Dozens of gritters were sent out on to the streets to clear the snow that fell. Many worked around the clock to keep main roads clear.

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But Mr Avery said Shrewsbury town centre was icy and that not enough was done to enable his business in Dogpole to continue to operate properly.

He said: “The council will now consider our claim of losses to our business due to our belief that they failed to clear the roads of snow.

“They appear to have changed their stance from that of arrogant dismissal after I pointed out their statutory responsibilities.

“Under section 41a of the Highways Act 1980, it states: ‘A highway authority are under a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage is not endangered by snow or ice.’

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“I believe that on December 8 this council had ample warning, as did we all, to at least keep the town and main highways safe. Amongst many incidents, a fire engine got stuck on Castle Street and the Wyle Cop was closed. This, combined with the obvious dangers to road users of transit on untreated roads, put people at risk.

“It is the job of the council to keep the roads useable as it is obliged to do by law. I believe the council was incompetent and negligent in its obligations and thus caused widespread disruption and losses.

“On Friday December 8 through to Sunday December 10 my business suffered a loss of £6,000 as customers had to cancel their bookings. I hold the council responsible for this loss and seek compensation.

“The claim of £6,000 remains. I will encourage all businesses in the town to approach the council for a claim of losses.”

Shropshire Council declined to comment.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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