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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Is it possible to take legal action against a parish councillor

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Is it possible to take legal action against a parish councillor for harassment or misleading the rest of the Parish Council? I have an issue with a Cllr. making up fictitious ownership disputes over a path on our land that he'd like to gain control of, they have actually trespassed without permission, and have submitted unreasonable objections to another path being diverted a few meters away from our windows.
Some of the other Cllrs feel that he's acting independently, in the name of the whole council.
I have complained to the Monitor about him previously, when he has used irrelevant or inaccurate information o influence a vote, and he never declares an interest, despite his house being bang opposite the vehicular entrance to our field.
My father-in-law suggested that we try to get him into court to highlight his unreasonable behaviour, as were paying £6,000 to sort out a mess of different paths that were used, unused, on the map incorrectly etc. Plus we haven't enjoyed our property fully since 2008, and our children (aged 3 and 4) are can get onto the road in a flash, and the corner of the field near our house is the village dog WC. As soon as this particular path diversion goes through, we can fence it off. But even though the County Council Footpath team have explained they their objection is invalid, they have resubmitted it to obstruct and delay further, as they know that the backlog for Public Enquiry is several years.
I feel that if the lawfulness of his actions were in question, the Parish Council may withdraw their objections, and his attempts to control other paths on our land will be discredited.
I know that this is a specialist area.
KR Nick Cunningham
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this,
Have you complained to the Parish Council at all please? Is he making the disputes up personally or as a member of the Parish Council?
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is doing it under the name of the PC, I can email you more info, if you provide an address. Is this area in which you have any personal experience, as I know that it is quite specialist. There are a lot of grey areas.Dear Mr and Mrs Cunningham,you can't have helped but notice there has been a huge amount of work going on in the field adjacent to yours and as it appears it may effect some of your land I just wanted to let you know what the plans are.As part of the current playground regeneration being carried out by the new Playground Committee the Parish Council thought it sensible to tackle the unsightly brambles in Mr Frys' field and generally tidy up the whole area. He has kindly consented to the clearance of all undergrowth in the field as well as cutting back any overgrowth, which would normally be at his expense but which we have agreed to undertake free of charge, and the resurfacing of Footpath 40. It is most fortunate for us that Hi-Line have also been busy working in the area and have cut down a large amount of the hedging below power-lines. Thorncombe School have engaged contractors to lay the hedge beside the school playing field.The hope is to resurface the length of Footpath 40 from High Street to Gribb View with compacted scalpings in order to make the path more accessible to less able-bodied people, prams, wheelchairs etc and to eradicate the muddy sections through the field. As you will be aware it is the District Council's statutory duty to maintain footpath surfaces and any costs for that work will be covered by them, but the work is normally carried out with the landowner's permission. Mr Fry has already granted permission for the resurfacing work through his land but there seems to be some discrepancy as to ownership of the High St end of the path. Historically it has always belonged to Thorncombe Farm and this has been confirmed by the previous farmers. The wire stock-fence was only erected when part of the land was sold to CGFrys as part of the conditions of sale, but according to his title-deeds the path strip appears to have been retained by Thorncombe Farm. I now note that your current Land Registry document shows your boundary as extending up to the stock-fence so thought it prudent to contact yourselves as a potentially interested party. The Parish Council cannot become involved with land disputes as it is a civil matter so I will contact both parties involved in the hope that neither will have any objections to the resurfacing. Please note that in this case the resurfacing would not be to the full width of the track but to a nominal 2m as per the minimum requirement in order to keep costs down. Any overgrowth needing to be cut back or other work that would normally be at the landowner's expense would be covered by the Council.So far the work has been going well with a huge involvement and interaction from the local community and I think that everyone will benefit from the enhanced area. I hope you are happy to support these proposals and apologise in advance for any inconvenience the work may cause to you.Kind regards, ***** *****Subsequent correspondence between Fry's and Higgins (read from the bottom, where he asks for their permission):Hi David
I certainly wouldn't let them top the field. So generous with their offers of FREE work aren't they?
I guaranteed that Roger Vickery will be charging them to do this, and how do they have access without asking us. It is part of their plan to say that they maintain it neglected land.
I had a friendly Cllr. to supper on Wed to discuss this, and he says that the others seem unfavourably disposed to Fry's.
The other document reference is just here-say. They are probably referring to a map pre-1940 when the previous owner to us bought to from Thorncombe Farm.
He is a devious little so and so, that is for sure.
The fact that Jill Exton is not replying to my emails, may indicate that she is onboard with this attempt to get control of those paths.
Do you have a number we can chat on?
I dont understand if he is doing this on behalf of the Council or personally?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is saying that it is on behalf of the PC, but according to my friendly P Cllr, it was not discussed or agreed that he would send that communication.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My number is(###) ###-####
Ok. Has the Councillor made a decision which you want to appeal, or just words said?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex
This is detailed, and has gone on a while. You've seen his latest push, Our deeds show Path 40 on our land, There is no muddy surface on our bit, he's referring to old documents, which probably from pre-1940, when the previous owner bought our property, so irrelevant, but being used to cause doubt / mislead. I can easily complain to the Monitor again about this incident, or if possible try to take action against him for either abuse of his position, or using his position to achieve his own aims. He is a nimby and wants to make our field and Fry (a developer) who own neighbouring fields a necessary amenity space gradually over the next few years, so that when they do a parish plan they can rule out any future development.
I just want to know if you can take action against him or the PC to push back and get them to question his integrity. I understand if you can't answer without seeing all of the historical facts. It is detailed.
I will call shortly.
Your mobile number is ***** short!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ah ok. I am just in court I will give you a call after.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex
Are you still going to call?
I think that we're going around in circles a bit here. I just want to know if you can take any action in these cases? Or if you know of cases where such action has been taken? You're asking me for the detail of 7 yrs of run-ins with them. The current situation has two aspects: 1. the rubbish he's made up about ownership, in order to trespass and try to get permission to resurface Path 40, all part of a longer term strategy. 2. the objection that they still have in to the diversion of Path 103, right next to our house, that they're just being unreasonable about, and submitting invalid objections to stall the process.
The County Council will try to get them to withdraw that, and then they'll have to vote. He will try to influence that vote again rather than declaring an interest, so I could get him on that. Plus another Cllr is going to raise the questions of why they have been sneaky on Footpath 40. So depending on what is minuted from that, perhaps I can complain to the Monitor again. But what I'm asking you is whether it os possible to bring a case against him based on this type of behaviour. Is it a Police matter for a Cllr to deliberately mislead the Council, and to use his position to target someone over an extended period? It is almost harassment or discrimination, as we were weekenders? Please advise if this is outside your area of expertise, as I don't want to waste time / money if it is.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
07977 490574
Is my number. Now I have put the gap in it isn't losing the 3rd 7 - sorry.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK - Just seen Court message