Judgement highlights ‘harassment’ of Steyning Parish Council

A TRIBUNAL has heavily criticised action taken against Steyning Parish Council in relation to their skatepark plans.

In the third action against the council in the High Court, the judgement announced on Thursday, April 3, upheld the information commissioner’s decision and dismissed the appeal by Mr Paul Campbell.

It also dismissed Mr Campbell’s application for costs and said the decision was unanimous.

Judge Chris Hughes said the process Mr Campbell had followed had ‘not only caused a considerable burden on and harassment of councillors and staff but was motivated by a desire to obstruct and, given the structure of decision making, was likely to be of minimal value in helping public understanding of issues relating to the environment’.

The case centred on a request for information made by Mr Campbell in January last year.

He wrote all the members of the council giving his views of various issues raised by the skatepark proposal, criticising it, indicating possible management difficulties and asking questions arising from the proposal for the management of the park.

The council responded on February 6, 2013, explaining in detail why it considered the request to be ‘manifestly unreasonable’ and that it was in the public interest to refuse.

The tribunal was satisfied both the council and the commissioner had correctly characterised the request as manifestly unreasonable and had correctly analysed the facts and law.