Vicar in pothole row with council over damaged car

A vicar says he’s having to spend an unsustainable amount of money on constantly repairing his pothole-damaged car.

Rev Paul Cawthorne says the amount he's spending on repairing his car is unsustainable
Rev Paul Cawthorne says the amount he's spending on repairing his car is unsustainable

Ever since returning to the county to take on the role of rural vicar of Clive and Hadnall three years ago Rev Paul Cawthorne says his Nissan Note has suffered repeated damage.

“I’ve had multiple bearing replacements, broken springs, ball joints and a wishbone recently,” said Paul as he took his car to be repaired on Friday.

“It is not a new car but I’m having to replace parts that I have only just had repaired,” he added.

Among the most recent replacements have been a new set of four tyres, costing around £200 after their rims were damaged.

“I’ve been spending over five per cent of my annual income on car repairs since moving here and can’t sustain that,” he has told Shropshire Council in an email seeking advice on compensation.

But he says he’s been told that unless damage can be directly attributed to a particular pothole incident, compensation won’t be offered.

Paul, who has been a vicar for more than 20 years after starting out at Eaton Constantine, near Cressage, says he’s made multiple reports about potholes on the FixMyStreet app over the last three years, and being fair to the council, he says he has seen many repaired.

But he adds that in his opinion the council could be more efficient.

“If there is a street with three or four potholes, they might come one day and do one or two, and then come back later and do some more,” he said. Paul who became a curate in Lawley, in central Telford before moving to Oxfordshire, says the roads have got worse while he was away.

Shropshire Council meanwhile said earlier this week that it and contractor Kier have repaired 15,000 potholes in six months, at an average of more than 2,500 every month, and more are being added every day.

Councillor Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “These figures are really encouraging, and provide further evidence of the work we’re carrying out every day to repair the county’s roads, and the progress that we’re making.

“We’ve made a commitment to improve the county’s roads, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. I want to say a big thank you to all the staff from Shropshire Council and from our partners Kier and WSP for all their continued hard work – it really is making a difference.

“We know that there are still are a lot of potholes and other defects in need of attention right across the county, but we’ll continue to work hard to tackle them and to make the county’s roads safer for all road users.”

The council has been invited to comment on Rev Cawthorne’s circumstances.

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