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Falsified parish council minutes what can I do?

0 votes
I recently attended a parish council meeting in which my planning application was discussed. Three councillors declared an interest and three had a discussion about my application. There were no objections. When the minutes were published on line they included a damaging statement that wasn't part of the discussion.  I have a full sound recording of the meeting. The damaging statement accords with other statements made in the press by one of the councillors who declared an interest.

The Clerk will not respond to my emails, what should I do?
asked by (120 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
You will need to put in a formal complaint to the parish council.  As the minutes of the last council will not be approved until the next full council meeting, you could attend and speak during the public session about the inaccuracy of the minutes.  Don't forget to record that one too. If they refuse, you could put a complaint then into the Monitoring Officer with both recordings as evidence of them breaking to code of conduct.

Bear in mind that the parish council is only a consultee for planning applications and not the deciding authority.  Their comments will only have the same weight as any member of the public wishing to comment.
answered by (16.8k points)
Thanks for your reply. I did complain to the Clerk and I did attend and record the following meeting. The councillors approved the minutes of the first meeting and completely disregarded my comments and my complaint.
Welcome to the world of Parish Councils there can’t be many publicly funded bodies that can do something like this and get away with it.

If this is an example can you imagine what else they are getting up to ?

The whole system needs  a root and branch review but there’s no appetite for it
As this is a planning issue have you checked to see if the planning authority have been misled ?
With respect, a Parish Council is a planning consultee to the planning officer involved. Their comments can be, or at least should be, better versed on planning law than an individual resident who has less dealings with planning matters. They are also (or should be) representatives of the community as a whole and therefore able to assist a planning officer with balanced and unbiased general views of the community together with local knowledge, the detail of which borough planners can't always be expected to be aware of. Yes their comments are submitted in exactly the same way that all other resident's comments are submitted but they can often have more weight because of the above. Although I expect this may vary from borough to borough or even officer to officer, especially when an application is dealt with under delegated powers.
0 votes
The minutes sound like they are potentially defamatory and libellous. Potentially, the ultimate course of action would be to  instigate legal action against them for making defamatory remarks.   However you would first need to take legal advice from a solicitor about the likelihood of success.   It might be worth wrtiting to them to say that you regard their minutes as defamatory, and if they are not corrected, you might instigate legal action for defamation - and see what they say!
answered by (24.4k points)

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