A HEMSWORTH man has denied reports that he owes a town council £10,000.
Jim Kenyon, of Grove Lane, told councillors and residents during public question time at a Hemsworth Town Council meeting last Tuesday that all money owed from a failed judicial review application and subsequent appeal had been paid.
Mr Kenyon was the named representative of the former Hemsworth Community Action Group on the application which aimed to stop the sale of Hemsworth Sports Complex, Kirkby Road, to fund a new community centre on Bullenshaw Road and replacement football facilities on Sandygate Lane.
The application was thrown out by a High Court judge in December 2008 and the group was ordered to pay £2,850 plus VAT in court costs.
The group then appealed the decision but dropped it shortly before Mr Kenyon was due to travel to London for an oral hearing. The town council said costs for a solicitor and barrister to fight the appeal now amounts to £10,000.
Mr Kenyon said: “I saw an article where the chairman stated I owed £10,000 to the council. I have all the documents that the correct bill was just over £3,000, which was paid. I spoke to Mr Jones (the group’s solicitor) and he told me he wrote to DLA Piper (the council’s solicitors) telling them the appeal would not be going ahead.
“When we were told by the district judge in Leeds that the proceedings had been thrown out in December 2008 we found out we could apply for an oral hearing to put our case forward. That was nothing to do with Hemsworth Town Council or its solicitors, it was for us.
“We paid the bill in May (2008) and then in July we were told we owed £8,000, with a discount if we paid in 14 days. I spoke to a woman at the Strand Court and she told me the matter had been back and forwards but it was finished because there is no money outstanding.
“I have since phoned the court up three times and was told it has been thrown out. As far as I am concerned it is finished with. If it was true that there was money outstanding I would have the right to appeal so why have I not had a bill to appeal?
“It is a downright lie to this community.”
The council did not respond to Mr Kenyon’s comments during the meeting as it has a policy of providing written answers to everything raised during public question time.
Mr Kenyon is currently in the process of a second application for a judicial review, this time against Wakefield Council’s planning department and on behalf of the Hemsworth Community Group.
For this reason, the Town Council said it could only address some of Mr Kenyon’s points while it was seeking legal advice.
The written response, provided to the Express on Tuesday, said: “The article in the paper quoted ‘that money is still outstanding to this community in the form of costs from the withdrawn appeal against the failed Judicial Review by the Action Group’.
“The Town Council has documentation on file proving that an appeal was made and that the notification of discontinuation of that appeal was not received from the solicitor acting on behalf of the Action Group until February 4, 2009 - six days prior to the hearing which had been scheduled for February 10.
“In addition to this Councillor Womersley made various comments at a Town Council meeting held 28 January 2009, which are minuted and include comments that he had been in London on that day discussing matters with his barrister and the fight is still on.”
The Town Council went on to state that it has received no notification from the court that the case had been thrown out.
It said: “The Town Council has received no such notification from the Court and has documentation on file, as recent as the beginning of February 2011 showing that the matter is being dealt with by the High Court.”
The Town Council also addressed concerns that the football field was smaller than it should be. It said that a human error occurred in reading yards for metres, making the pitch smaller than required, but that it would be marked out to the correct measurements.