A TEST Valley man has heavily criticised a local authority, claiming they have failed to remove a damaged and "abandoned car".

Gareth Thomas, who lives in Rownhams, discovered the Ford Fiesta with part of its front wheel arch ripped off in St Evox Close on Sunday.

Now, the 38-year-old has claimed Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) "don't care about the area" after he was told they cannot clear the vehicle, because its tax and MOT are in date.

However, TVBC hit back and said they cannot remove the vehicle because it would be theft, since it is "legally owned". 

Gareth said: "I was walking to Sainsbury's on Sunday when I saw this damaged car in St Evox Close, so I rang the council and they told me they couldn't do anything about it since it was still taxed and had its MOT, but I am not happy about it.

"The front wheel was completely flat and with the damaged front panel you could see right into the engine compartment.

"I think it is something to do with drink-driving, because towards the end of Bakers Drove [which meets with Rownhams Lane] there is a hedge and they could have hit that at some speed, since I had to move a piece of the bumper off the road."

Romsey Advertiser: The damaged carThe damaged car

He also claimed the car had later moved from a nearby road to St Evox Close.

He added: "Rownhams is supposed to be a posh area like Romsey and people pay a lot of money for houses here, but I think everyone should be paying reduced council tax if Test Valley Borough Council don't care about the area and can't remove the car.

"I am criticising Test Valley because they have not come out to do an assessment on the car to see if it's abandoned before making this decision, so I think it is inadequate."

Gareth also referenced a car that was submerged in a lake beside Lakeside Avenue in 2016, believing "the council didn't seem to take much notice of it then".

He stressed he has contacted Hampshire police in a bid to remove the vehicle, but said they have "not put a sticker" on the vehicle indicating it is abandoned.

A TVBC spokesperson said: “We take every report of an abandoned vehicle extremely seriously and will always investigate these matters through our various checks.

"If we deem a vehicle to be abandoned, we will then take appropriate action.

“However, as we have explained, this vehicle is taxed, has a valid MOT and is correctly and legally owned, and is not causing obstruction. It is not an abandoned vehicle."

They added: “If the council were to remove this vehicle, we would therefore be in breach of the law by theft.”

Hampshire police has been contacted for comment.