Attleborough Town Council attempts to recoup more than £11,000 spent on wall repairs
A council is attempting to recoup the £11,755 it paid to have a wall repaired – after mistakenly believing it was legally responsible for it.
The wall beside St Mary’s Church in Attleborough was struck by drivers in separate incidents last year, causing substantial damage.
The first accident caused more than £7,000 of damage to the wall in Church Street, before a second driver hit the same wall two weeks later, causing a further £4,000 of damage.
Confusion relating to the wall being incorrectly labelled as a council asset led to Attleborough Town Council erroneously agreeing to cover the cost of repairs.
This vote was passed despite the church having ecclesiastical insurance that covers the whole site.
The council has assisted the church with maintenance and repairs since 1885, but the wall and buildings are owned by the church – a fact that was later confirmed by the Norwich Diocese, which holds the title deed to the site.
Rector Matthew Jackson, from St Mary’s Church, said: “The church has insurance, but the wall repairs are being taken care of by the council, as I understand it.
“I’ve seen a few incidents of vehicles striking the church walls in my time. More careful driving, along with, perhaps, a lowering of the speed limit along that road, would certainly help.”
The wall repair was discussed at length during a meeting of the town council on Monday.
During the meeting, mayor Philip Leslie, who assumed the role in July, said: “We had to pay for the wall, because, firstly, we are responsible for it. Secondly, it was an uninsured driver who hit it and, thirdly, the wall was not insured by ourselves.
“We should have insured it. We didn’t insure it and, as a result, we had to pay for it.”
During the meeting, councillors agreed in principle to a deal put forward by the first driver who struck the wall.
This will see them endeavour to pay off the £7,120 over a period of time as part of a payment plan.
It is hoped that a further payment can be secured from the second driver, who was not insured, through the small claims court.
The council agreed on this course of action, in the hope of recovering the remaining £4,635.
It was revealed that the council has spent around £1,500 so far on legal fees relating to the matter.