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Former Norwich council contractors auction tools

PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:42 02 July 2010

Wymondham auctioneer Chris Beckett with some of the former City Care equipment he is selling.

Wymondham auctioneer Chris Beckett with some of the former City Care equipment he is selling.

Sarah Hall

For a decade their fleet of vans were a common sight on the streets of Norwich - but now the equipment used by CityCare is expected to fetch up to £1m when it goes under the hammer.

For a decade their fleet of vans were a common sight on the streets of Norwich - but now the equipment used by CityCare is expected to fetch up to £1m when it goes under the hammer.

Next week the gear used by the former city council contractors will be sold off at auction, with everything from forklifts and diggers to hedge cutters and strimmers will be sold off.

For 10 years CityCare were the contractors to Norwich City Council and were responsible for fixing council homes, keeping streets tidy and maintaining parks.

But the city council decided to break up the contract and the work has now been split between a number of other companies, although the majority of CityCare workers have transferred to new bosses.

However, the tools they used to use are now up for grabs, with Wymondham auctioneers East Anglian Motor Auctions (EAMA) having already hosted two sales of kit.

Next week's sale is the third and biggest that EAMA has organised to deal with the thousand lots of tools, vans and vehicles whose distinctive black, red and white livery was such a familiar sight on city streets.

Chris Beckett, managing director of EAMA said: “We are expecting buyers from all over the country. Interest in the first two sales was tremendous, but this will be the big one.

“For the last 10 years CityCare has been such a prominent part of city life and landscape. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing one of their vans or lorries.

“Now the mowers, strimmers and leaf-blowers you used to watch being used every time you went for a walk, and the blacksmith equipment used to make the railings round the city parks, have passed to us to sell.

“It's quite sad to see everything being split up like that. There was a very highly skilled team working out of CityCare's depot at Mile Cross. The guys there could do anything.”

Mr Beckett said some ex-CityCare workers had snapped up some of their old equipment at previous sales.

EAMA is holding the sale on behalf of CityCare's parent companies Veolia and Morrison. Earlier this month Morrison reached an agreement with the city council which saw the threat of High Court action dropped.

Morrison had challenged the process by which the new contract for maintaining Norwich's 17,000 council homes was awarded and had obtained an injunction to block the award of that contract to Connaught.

The hearing was due to take place in June, but was ditched after an agreement - which included some financial settlement - was reached.

The auction will take place at EAMA's sale premises in Copper Smith Way, Wymondham from 10am on Thursday, April 22.

Have you made an unusual purchase at an auction? Tell us your story by calling Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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