Wye Future Group is set to accuse all the main players in the Wye Park concordats fiasco of maladministration and acting ultra vires.
The group has dropped its claim for a judicial review in favour of preparing complaints to the Standards Board of England and the Local Government Ombudsman. The group is also reserving its right to pursue legal action against all the main players, too.
In letters sent to Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council, WFG says that is disappointed that neither authority responded properly in accordance with the pre-action protocol and did not address all the points raised in legal correspondence from the group and failed to disclose the documents demanded.
The letter to Ashford continues: ‘However, we accept the point made by the Council that a judicial review against the authority would be inappropriate at this time given that the concordat has not been adopted, ratified or endorsed by the Council corporately. We note the statement in the letter of 24 February 2006 that the concordat has not been considered or endorsed by the Council, the executive, or any committee or sub-committee, and that the concordat does not represent Council policy. We also note the statement made in the letter of 2 March 2006 that the Council will not proceed as if bound by the concordat.’
In its letter to KCC, WFG states: ‘We note the statements in the letter dated 28 February 2006 that the Council will not treat Imperial College’s development plans for the Wye Park Project differently from any other, and that the concordat is to be reconsidered. We also note that in the letter of 22 March 2006 it is confirmed that there will be proper and due consideration of Imperial College’s plans once published.
‘We will not, therefore, proceed with the proposed claim. This is expressly without prejudice to the ability to raise the issue of the concordat or its effects in any later proceedings that there may be, in particular if the Council corporately does seek to implement the concordat, or if the Leader is involved in any decision-making by the Council in connection with the Wye Park Project.’
Both letters conclude that the ‘appropriate remedy in this case’ is against the leaders and senior officers of the councils for ‘their actions in connection with the concordat’.
Maladministration causing personal injustice is one of the most serious complaints that can be brought against a public body. If it is proved, the ombudsman can award compensation and order the authorities concerned to retract an unlawful decision.
Read the letter to Ashford council here
Read the letter to KCC here