A COUNCIL has come under fire from an ombudsman for the way it consulted allotment tenants who wanted to take over running their plots.
Members of Gosport Borough Council’s community board also rejected an officer’s recommendation in November to scrap the Allotment Stakeholder Group, set up in 2004 to oversee the plots.
I found it quite appalling that a few councillors knew about the reportCllr Dennis Wright
Last year, Gosport Allotment Holders’ and Gardeners’ Association sought to take over the running of the borough’s allotments from the council.
The authority agreed information would be given out to allotment owners before a vote was taken.
The vote went in favour of the council 144-130.
But Jim More, vice-chairman of the GAHGA, complained to the Local Ombudsman Authority about how the decision was made, which found the council did not carry out or properly record the decisions the board made.
The LOA’s report was not officially released until a few days ago, although a draft copy was published before last month’s community board meeting. But it was not given to all councillors.
That said the council must issue an apology and officers must ‘train relevant officers about the relationship between group decisions’ and record keeping needed addressing.
Mr More said: ‘I do not think the council has come out of this well.
‘When they sent the information out to allotment holders, the people did not have enough of it and I was not surprised how the vote went. We have a new meeting arranged for February.’
Labour Councillor Dennis Wright expressed his frustration at Wednesday’s full council meeting and called it appalling.
He said: ‘We should have all had a copy of it. Draft copies rarely change.’
Lib Dem Cllr Rob Hylands added: ‘We are supposed to be representing our constituents and the executives are doing stuff that is not democratic.’
A spokesperson for Gosport Borough Council said: ‘A draft report is produced while discussions are still under way with the ombudsman on the wording of a final decision.
‘It wouldn’t be appropriate to have released it before the matter was finally resolved and the ombudsman’s final view was known.’