Taxpayer calls for explanation over Torquay seafront balloon rent row
A COUNCIL taxpayer has called for a public explanation about when Torbay Council expects to recover £50,000 allegedly owed by the operators of the Torquay seafront balloon.
William Ward, of Torquay, claims the rent dispute between the council and the operators of the Hi-Flyer attraction has dragged on long enough.
Balloon operators Lindstrand has not paid £50,000 to Torbay Council since April, 2009, 'due to an ongoing legal dispute in relation to the lease'.
Mr Ward says he is not satisfied with continued delays in making the details of the dispute public.
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He says he will keep campaigning for answers.
In an open letter, he says: "As the situation remains the same a year after the demise of the attraction and a total of four years legal wrangling, I think it timely and reasonable to call for some public explanation."
He claims: "I contend that the total cost to the community of the whole failed project is probably nearer £100,000 to date and our representatives should be answerable."
Mr Ward says he has been told the local government ombudsman will not look at the issue as he has 'not been directly caused an injustice' by the matter.
The balloon has not risen since it was damaged by high winds in January.
Knowledge of the dispute was made public in March after two residents made Freedom of Information requests to the council.
Mayor Gordon Oliver subsequently rejected calls for an inquiry by an ombudsman, saying legal teams were in negotiation with each other.
He subsequently rejected an appeal for an inquiry.
A spokesman for Torbay Council declined to comment, citing information on the matter was 'legally privileged'.