Tewkesbury riverside moorings dispute costs town council nearly £20,000
TEWKESBURY Town Council has defended spending nearly £20,000 on a dispute over riverside moorings.
It has been battling against the family of former town mayor Barbara Cromwell for nearly six years, with both sides claiming ownership over a small stretch of moorings on the River Avon, off Red Lane, Tewkesbury.
The matter has begun going through the civil courts, with a preliminary hearing having already taken place. A date has yet to be set for the next one.
With the matter remaining unresolved and the hard-up council having to pay mounting legal costs, two members of the public demanded to know how much taxpayers' money had been spent so far.
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They wondered whether the authority, which is running a £10,000 public appeal to help pay for repairs to Tewkesbury's war memorial, should continue spending large amounts of money on the matter.
Former town councillor Andy Smith and Tewkesbury resident Pat Handford raised the issue at a town council meeting. It led town clerk Pauline Clarke to say the cost to the council, to date, had been £19,726.
She added: "I have sought advice from the council's solicitor and no further questions can be tabled during this meeting and there can be no debate as the matter is sub judice."
After the statement had been read out, Mrs Handford said: "I'm not very happy about it at all. It's all taxpayers' money."
Another Tewkesbury resident at the meeting, Marion Roope, said: "I find it incredible. How can they justify spending nearly £20,000?"
After the meeting, the council issued a further statement, which said: "As the parties could not reach agreement over the ownership of the moorings, it was with reluctance that the council issued legal proceedings in order to clarify their ownership.
"As regards cost, it is regrettable that a public authority has to involve itself in litigation. However, the council believes it has an obligation to protect its assets. As a public authority, the council has a difficult balancing act to perform in circumstances such as these. But it cannot be in a position where it simply accepts claims of ownership over the community's assets without taking steps to establish the correct position."