Monday, 18 December 2017

Abandoned

THIS car has been abandoned on a Henley street for more than seven months — and there’s no

THIS car has been abandoned on a Henley street for more than seven months — and there’s no sign of it being moved.

The W-registered Renault Clio was left at the side of Harpsden Road, immediately opposite the junction with Wilson Road, in early June but no one has returned to collect it.

At least three residents have reported it to South Oxfordshire District Council, the police and the DVLA on multiple occasions but none has been able to do anything about it.

The crimson car has been there so long that mud washed down the road is pooling beneath it and weeds are taking root. There is a faded newspaper on the rear passenger seat dated May 25, 2015.

According to DVLA records, the owner has made a statutory off-road declaration, meaning they don’t have to pay road tax but cannot legally drive or park it on the public highway.



The Clio’s MOT certificate expired on October 12.

Lawrence Manly, who lives by the junction, contacted the district council in September as it has the power to remove and dispose of abandoned vehicles.

Weeks later, the council told him it had traced the owner but he had said the car was not abandoned and would be moved soon. It therefore took no action.

In November, Mr Manly looked up the vehicle on the DVLA website and saw its tax and MOT had expired.

He alerted the police, who have the authority to tow away untaxed cars, but nothing was done.

Mr Manly said: “Since that car arrived, no one in my street has seen anybody come to move it or even look at it. Very few houses here have driveways so it often gets busy and the Clio is taking up a valuable parking place.

“One day I had to park 50 yards up the road from my house because there was nowhere else to go.

“According to the district council, the owner claimed it had broken down but they really ought to have removed it by now. It shouldn’t even be on the road.”

His neighbour Tony Sheffield said he had reported the car both online and by phone to the DVLA, which has contracts with enforcement firms to clamp and remove untaxed cars. He also told the police.

Mr Sheffield, a former car dealer, believes no action has been taken because seized cars are sold at auction and the Clio is of such low value that it is not worth removing.

He said: “This car is old, it’s an automatic and from what I understand it doesn’t even start. It’s worthless and the enforcers will be looking to get a certain amount of money out of it. A few years ago they were more proactive about this. As you drove around Henley you’d see cars with big yellow clamps marked DVLA. They were happy to do it when they could make money but now it’s less profitable.

“The police aren’t interested either — everyone washes their hands of it and you just go round in circles. That car is untaxed with no MOT and the owner shouldn’t be able to get away with leaving it at the roadside.”

Although the vehicle’s records may be searched on the DVLA website, the agency will not give details of the registered keeper unless there is “reasonable cause”. It typically only shares these with police and councils.

A spokesman said: “It is not true that the enforcers don’t take action due to cost recovery issues. There are contractual processes in place that dictate when and why they would clamp vehicles.

“If we are alerted to an untaxed vehicle on public land we can take it away, impound it and charge the owner and sell or crush it if we do not hear from them. We receive thousands of reports and it appears this case hasn’t been picked up.”

He said he would add the vehicle to the DVLA’s enforcement list and promised someone would visit but couldn’t say how long it would take.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said he couldn’t comment without knowing the dates when Mr Manly and Mr Sheffield reported the vehicle, which neither could recall.

South Oxfordshire District Council said: “After being notified of the vehicle, we investigated and then contacted the resident who confirmed that the car is not abandoned so we have no powers to take any further action.

“The vehicle is registered as off-road so we have reported it to the DVLA who, if appropriate, can take enforcement action.”



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