Town hall hybrid not Prius-tige, says Dover's mayor

Updated: 

A mayor could have his civic car upgraded - after insisting the current Toyota Prius is replaced by a vehicle which reflects "the prestige and status of the mayoralty''.

Neil Rix is currently taken to civic events in the Prius at an annual cost of £3,950.

But Dover Town Council has agreed to increase the sum available for the car to £5,000 after it was argued the hybrid was too small and uncomfortable for town sergeant David Hunt-Cooke to drive Mr Rix to functions.

A council report said: "The car is very often used by the town sergeant and annual appraisal of his role has highlighted that because he is above average height for a British man, the Prius is not entirely comfortable for him to drive particularly on journeys of over an hour.

"There is some risk of physical harm to the town sergeant in obliging him to continue to use a car in which the seat is at its lowest position but his head touches the roof.

"The current mayor is also subject to similar discomfort."

The authority looked at whether it would be possible for the mayor to use public transport, his or her own vehicle, or the town sergeant's car, but these options were rejected.

Three potential replacements - a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Skoda Superb Hatch SE l Executive and Volvo S90 hybrid T8 twin engine - have been recommended to the authority.

"The mayor believes that the make of vehicle should reflect the prestige and status of the mayoralty," the report added.

But Dover Town councillor Peter Wallace told KentLive Mr Rix "wants a big gangster car" and the decision was "inappropriate at a time of austerity".