Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth says deal for vehicle was done behind closed doors

Row over 'snow blower' sale

The snow blower in action

Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Reporter

A COUNTY Councillor has questioned the sale of a 50-year-old ‘snow blower’ used to clear rural roads of snow - and which his grandfather used to drive.

Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth said the vehicle should by rights have been auctioned off for sale.

Instead the snow blower, which the council says is no longer mechanically safe to drive, is to be returned to its manufacturer which intends to refurbish it and put it on show at its head office.

The council will receive £2,500 from the manufacturer, Schmidt, by way of settlement, which will also pay the costs to transport the vehicle.

Coun Shuttleworth, who represents Weardale, said when he previously enquired about buying one of the council’s fleet of cars he was told it had to go to auction, despite him agreeing the price.

He said: “I should have the right to buy this equipment as should anyone else – they might have offered £3,000 – instead a deal was done behind closed doors. It is not open and transparent.

“The council seems to have altered the rules and they don’t have the authority to do that.”

Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of direct services, said it had explained to Coun Shuttleworth that the snow blower was beyond repair as there were no longer any replacement parts.

He said: “As this item of plant no longer worked, it was not appropriate to send it to auction.

"Rather than dispose of it at scrap value – where income to the council would have been minimal – a better price and use was obtained by selling back to the manufacturer for display in their museum where apprentices could also work on its renovation.

“This sale, for the best possible price, had already been agreed by the time we were approached by County Coun Shuttleworth.”

Comments (5)

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7:06pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Phil101 says...

The council didn't get a bad price for them. There are 2 currently up for sale for £3,000 or so, one working, and the Unimog might be a bit more valuable than £1000: it depends on condition but they could have been put up for sale on eBay or another site for enthusiasts to see if a better price was achievable. Selling for scrap shouldn't've been the only other disposal path! John Shuttleworth is quite right, it probably wasn't the best price that could have been achieved and, if there's a Council policy on disposals, why wasn't it used in this case? :)
The council didn't get a bad price for them. There are 2 currently up for sale for £3,000 or so, one working, and the Unimog might be a bit more valuable than £1000: it depends on condition but they could have been put up for sale on eBay or another site for enthusiasts to see if a better price was achievable. Selling for scrap shouldn't've been the only other disposal path! John Shuttleworth is quite right, it probably wasn't the best price that could have been achieved and, if there's a Council policy on disposals, why wasn't it used in this case? :) Phil101
  • Score: 4

8:45pm Wed 29 Jan 14

settheworldonfire says...

This is because the council are corrupt and should be investigated by the police....
This is because the council are corrupt and should be investigated by the police.... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 4

8:56pm Thu 30 Jan 14

user name 3 says...

According to the council it is beyond repair, but the manufacturers are going to refurbish it. Why could it not be refurbished and used?
According to the council it is beyond repair, but the manufacturers are going to refurbish it. Why could it not be refurbished and used? user name 3
  • Score: 1

6:03pm Sat 1 Feb 14

maur1 says...

because the council are good at wasting money that us workers work hard for to pay our rates.
because the council are good at wasting money that us workers work hard for to pay our rates. maur1
  • Score: 1

12:42pm Sun 2 Feb 14

Andyleigh says...

I'm not one to defend the council, but maybe they meant "beyond economic repair". The manufacturer will be paying for that now and for the transport, which won't be cheap.
I'm not one to defend the council, but maybe they meant "beyond economic repair". The manufacturer will be paying for that now and for the transport, which won't be cheap. Andyleigh
  • Score: 0

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