Resident impedes council

Parish council chairman Mark Gilson
Parish council chairman Mark Gilson

A member of the public has been slammed for ‘severely interfering’ with a parish council’s ability to deliver services.

At its annual parish meeting last night, Rothbury chairman Coun Mark Gilson told councillors and members of the public that numerous complaints from one resident, including legal action against the small authority, have led to the council putting thousands of pounds in reserve in case of more action.

And he said that the time and effort the councillors have had to spend on this member of the public had ‘severely interfered with Rothbury Parish Council’s ability to deliver the services residents deserve.’

And at the meeting last night, which happened after the Gazette went to press, the individual was named as Tony Kell, who is standing for election to the council next week.

He added that the same person had called for a full election in the village, at a cost to the council of £3,000, as well as making a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

He said: “During this past year, most of the time of two past chairmen, the parish clerk and myself has been spent dealing with the results of continued persistent approaches to Rothbury Parish Council and individual councillors, by a member of the public.

“It was reported in the minutes of the council’s Annual Assembly 2013 that this same member of the public had made 80 complaints, many repeated regularly, between late September 2012 and early May 2013.

“Between then and today there have been well over 100 further complaints.

“We have been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the member of the public has employed a solicitor to act against us.

“Luckily the ICO has stated that they will be taking no further action but the solicitors have threatened Rothbury Parish Council with legal costs so we’ve had to place several thousand pounds in reserve in our new budget.

“The member of the public organised a list of 17 residents’ names calling for the forthcoming election, at a cost to the council of about £3,000, rather than let us co-opt until the next full election in three years’ time.”

For a full report of the parish council and annual assembly, see next week’s paper.